A Dangerous Run-in With A Moose
Butcher met David Monson after she charged $6,000 worth of dog food with him that she thought she could pay for, but couldn't. The two were married in 1985, with Monson moving 100 miles south of the Arctic Circle to Eureka, Alaska, to live with Butcher at her Trail Breaker Kennels, where she bred and kept over 100 huskies. Butcher loves every aspect of dog breeding, from giving them affection to tending to their veterinary care herself. Too far from a vet, she gives shots, draws blood, and births her own dogs. She trains them daily to run in teams and pull a nearly 500-pound load up to seventy miles.
More than sixty mushers and 1,000 dogs started the 1982 Iditarod. An hour into the race, Butcher's fifteen-dog team—led by Granite—slid off the trail into a tree, injuring three dogs. A violent snowstorm followed and Butcher strayed ten miles off course in whiteout conditions. She dropped the injured dogs off at a checkpoint and forged ahead in 60- to 80-mph winds. She had to drop two more dogs, and Butcher coaxed her nine-dog team into Nome just three minutes, 43 seconds behind the winner, her friend Rick Swenson.
After finishing ninth in 1983 and second again in 1984, Butcher went into the 1985 feeling at the top of her game. Just after the fifth checkpoint, however, she and her team were charged by a pregnant moose, who became tangled in the team's harnesses. The moose killed two dogs and injured thirteen more before another musher shot it. Butcher dropped out of the race.
- Susan Butcher - Chronology
- Susan Butcher - Began Preparing For The Iditarod
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