Lost Sled Dog Finally Found After Nearly Five Days Missing In Alaskan Wilderness

Some news from the Iditarod that everyone can appreciate: Whitey-Lance, the sled dog who had been missing in the Alaskan wilderness, finally showed up late Sunday night after spending more than four days alone in the sub-zero temperatures.

The three-year old was "noticeably thinner" and had suffered a few injuries, seemingly acquired days spent walking through the woods, but otherwise was is good health. Whitey was ultimately rescued with the aid of some salmon.

[T]he dog was skittish whenever anyone approached and at first didn't recognize Savidis, who was wearing snowmachine goggles.

But someone then produced a salmon carcass, something even a skittish dog couldn't resist.

"At first, he was a little startled by my goggles, said Savidis, who quickly removed them. "I said, 'Hey, Whitey' and he was like, 'Ah, I remember you.' "

Whitey, a dog of rookie musher Justin Savidis, went missing somewhere between the checkpoints of Nikolai and McGrath after he wrestled free of his harness and escaped early Wednesday morning. During the nearly five days he was loose in the wild, Whitey covered almost 50 miles, "scavenging for snacks left behind by mushers."

Savidis, along with help from local residents, Alaska State Troopers and the Iditarod Air Force, searched for his dog by plane, snowmachine and foot.

Here's how Justin Savidis's wife, Rebecca, told the story on their blog, Snowhook Kennel.

I received another phone call from [Justin] with a very different tone. “Whitey’s sitting on my lap right now,” was all he said and my tears started flowing. Dog and musher were scheduled to be on the last flight in tonight ...

Whitey was lured in by a bite of salmon. While Whitey gave into the needs of his empty stomach, AJ wrapped his arms around Whitey and didn’t let go. From there, and truer to form Whitey-Lance stayed by [Justin's] side all the way home ... As hugs were given, and words of encouragement were spoken, Whitey-Lance closed his eyes and fell asleep. Whitey is slumbering in our house tonight, but until he fell asleep he went from [Justin’s] lap to my lap and back again.

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