Iditarod lead dog found after a day on the loose

Posted: Thursday, May 22, 2003

ANCHORAGE (AP) Reno, an Iditarod lead dog missing since Monday when somebody freed him and four brethren from musher Debbie Moderow's truck, was found Tuesday after he fell asleep in a flower garden.

An all-night search by the local musher and her family ended with a call from Anchorage animal control. Dogcatchers had found the missing husky asleep in a flower garden not far from downtown.

''He apparently ran all night,'' Moderow said Tuesday. ''He'd found a cool, small place to curl up, and he went to sleep.''

The five dogs were apparently freed into downtown traffic while the family was at a restaurant.

''Whoever did this undid every (dog) box on the lower level,'' Moderow said. Both of the boxes on the family's main truck and those on a second truck parked behind it were opened.

''It was pretty shocking,'' Moderow said. ''We've worried about this over the years, but we never heard of this happening to anybody ever. We deliberately park in a place that's open and busy.''

The family was downtown to dine at a restaurant on the occasion of daughter Hannah's 19th birthday.

The Moderows consider their dogs pets and regularly travel with some of them. The dogs like traveling in the truck, Debbie Moderow said.

The four dogs recovered right away ''are the most social,'' she said. Reno is a new dog and has yet to become fully integrated into the family.

''This is a dog that I bought two months ago from Cali King,'' daughter of former Iditarod champ Jeff King, Moderow said. Reno was used in lead in Cali King's team in this year's Iditarod.

''He's a very sweet dog, but a shy dog,'' Moderow said.

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