Dogs Helped Save Alaskan Town #BetterWithPets

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How Dogs Helped Save Alaskan Town

How Dogs Helped Save An Alaskan Town #BetterWithPets

I have been saving this story the story of How Dogs Helped Save An Alaskan Town to share for a special day because I think that this story embodies just how important dogs can be and are for life today. That might seem like a stretch but it isn’t. By going back to their roots and living with and training the dogs the youth of one rural Alaskan Town found themselves, became empowered, and live their history.

How Dogs Helped Save An Alaska Town

But before I get into the story of how the dogs helped save an Alaskan town I want to share a little background on why this story is so meaningful to me. As you may know I went to Alaska over the summer on a pretty incredible cruise. While the cruise itself has nothing to do with the story I am about to tell you they are connected When it was first decided that my mom and I were going on a cruise (forgoing a trip to Europe) I immediately looked up to see where Dr. Arleigh Reynolds is based.I was going to write an email to my Purina contacts begging them to set up a meeting so that I can see him and meet some of his dogs. I have been a huge fan of Dr. Reynolds since the first time I heard him speak and would have loved to be able to see him in his natural environment.

Alaska's State Sport is Dog Mushing #BetterWithPets

During my time in Alaska we mostly visited places tailor made for the cruise ships meaning everything was pretty and ready for visitors. But if you listened closely enough or asked questions when everyone else had gotten of the bus or walked into a little bookstore down a side street you could hear the story of Alaska. Even in the touristy cities that we got off the ship to visit there was very limited cell phone service, little to no internet, and days that pretty literally don’t end. It worked for the people that travel to Alaska for the summer from other cities across the country because they made the trip to unplug and get away. But for those that live there full time as teachers and other professionals living in small rural off the road systems Alaska towns and in and around the Native Corporations tourists mean dollars they can use to live the rest of the year in Alaska. Tourist also provide a hugely lucrative way to keep your Iditarod Dogs training year round. Alaska is so secluded that teens can get their bush plane licenses as the same time as they get their drivers license. Because the bush planes are such common form of transportation.

Bush Plane Alaska

Meeting the dogs was the ONLY shore excursion I was interested in doing. We did a few others mainly to have something to do for a few hours that took us away from the ships but it was getting to MEET the sled dogs and really learn about them. I wasn’t really sure I even wanted to be on a sled not knowing what that meant so we picked the trip that looked the most like what I wanted and it is exactly what we got. From the minute our old rickety school bus pulled up to the mushers camp you could hear the excitement from the dogs. By excitement I mean sheer and absolute complete LOVE of what they did. I knew I picked the right option (it was super hot for the dogs in the 70’s that day but none of them wanted to rest they all wanted to work {at least a little}). It was from the Mushers that I learned about the Iditarod from a mushers point of view.

Sled Dogs

Alaska is the Iditarod. It is sled dogs. It is Bald Eagles. It is vast expanses of forest. It is seclusion. It is the Wild West. It is the Gold Rush.It is Glaciers. It is Bush Plains. Wild Animals. It is dogs.

Alaska is the Bald Eagle

I will let Dr. Arleigh Reynolds DVM, PhD, D.A.C.V.N. Associate Professor of Veterinary Nutrition & Associate Dean, Department of Veterinary Medicine University of Alaska Fairbanks and Senior Research Nutritionist at Purina share the history of the importance of dogs in Alaska and the story of the at risk youth of Huslia, Alaska and ultimately how it saved the entire town.

Purina Supports the Frank Attla Youth Program for At-Risk Teens in Rural Alaska: How Dogs Helped Save Alaskan Town.

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  1. Dr. Reynolds is amazing and so inspiring! Happy New Year from Deb and the Zee/Zoey kitties!

  2. Inspirational.. this is the reason why I love my dog. They are most faithful animal on the earth indeed.

    Happy new year buddy.
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  3. Robin Rue (@massholemommy) says

    Awww, what an amazing story! I would have wanted to meet the dogs, too!

  4. What a beautiful and inspiring story. Dr. Arleigh Reynolds is such an inspiring person.

  5. Funny story — my Dad always travelled all over and would always bring home gifts for us from where he had been. He brought home an Iditarod hoodie for when I was in Grade 6. The first time I wore it to school, the cutest boy in the class took notice right away. He must have been a dog sledding fan, lol! I didn’t know anything about it, but I wore that hoodie right out because every time I did, he would find excuses to strike up a conversation with me, ha ha!! The other girls couldn’t figure out my secret 😉

  6. I’ve never heard of this person but it sounds like she is very inspirational. I would love to meet her myself.

  7. Dogs are truly man’s best friend. I can’t think of an animal more loving or devoted than a dog.
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  8. It’s awesome that dogs help people in so many different ways. This is an awesome story! I’m glad the dogs had such an impact on those kids’ lives.
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  9. Oh my gosh. This is such a wonderful feel-good story. I am a huge fan of the Alaska culture. I think it is amazing how many smaller and more remote towns live off the land and I find that fascinating.

  10. Dogs are amazing companions. I can’t imagine living without one in my home. It makes total sense that a dog saved a town. What an amazing experience you went on!

  11. Oh my goodness! As a parent I am terrified at the thought of teenagers getting their bush pilot’s license. My younger daughter had two car accidents in her first year of driving. I just can’t image her flying a plane!

  12. I got the chance to go to the Iditarod two years ago. The dogs are just amazing! We have a husky mix bred and love love love dogs!

  13. What an inspiring story! It’s amazing how dogs helped the entire town, dogs are gifts!
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  14. Love inspiring stories such as this! When you hear of Alaska you think of a beautiful place full of adventure but also a whole different way of living and survival. I love this story.

  15. I am amazed by sled dogs and their ability to be such hard workers. I’d love to take a ride with a team of sled dogs, I can imagine how fulfilling and interesting it is.

  16. What a heartwarming story. I would love to visit Alaska and meet those sled dogs someday or more so, take a ride. Bet it would be an awesome experience.
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  17. I love reading stories like this and so does my daughter. I wil have to share this one and let her read about this, so cool!

  18. Your trip to Alaska sounds amazing. And the dogs look so beautiful.

    We watched a show on HGTV about living in Alaska and they showed the dogs with the sleds. It looked so nice.
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  19. Oh those dogs are absolutely amazing! Alaska is on my must visit list for sure!

  20. Such an inspiring story! I love animals, especially dogs. This story is so heart-warming!

  21. Bonnie @wemake7 says

    I would love to meet sled dogs too. Sounds like a really great experience you got to have. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  22. I love reading stories like this. Amazing! Never seen this dog in real life yet but would love to. They so cute.

  23. CourtneyLynne says

    Awwww these kinds of stories are the best!!!! I’m a total animal lover. This was just amazing!!!

  24. This is amazing, they always say dogs are your best friend, I remember watching Balto when I was little and thinking wow if it wasn’t for them the town wouldn’t have made it.

  25. Dogs are really awesome for so many reasons. Our dog has become a member of our family – we can’t imagine our lives without him.
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  26. Wow…can you imagine…getting a license to operate a plane at a young age. I love dogs, and I am glad that people appreciate them in Alaska. My best friend was stationed in Alaska..she had interesting stories to tell.

  27. So amazing what dogs can do. They have to be so cherished for helping them, what a great way to help the dogs get their working personalities out.
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  28. What an amazing story! How cool!

  29. I’m so impressed by the work Dr Reynolds is doing with Alaskan teens in Huslia! I would love to meet him someday. I fell in love with all things sled dog after getting my Husky 6 years ago & learning about the Serum Run of 1925 & how sled dogs saved Nome Alaska from a Diphtheria epidemic. It became my dream to visit Alaska during the Iditarod & 3 weeks ago we went!! It was so awesome, such an incredible experience! I wrote a couple of blog posts about it.
    Love & biscuits,
    Dogs Luv Us and We Love Them

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