Blind Dog on Iditarod Sled Team

'Laura' still a big part of Kelly Maixner's pack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 13, 2015 2:25 PM CDT
Blind Dog on Iditarod Sled Team
Kelly Maixner of Big Lake, Alaska and an auction winner in his sled, take part in the ceremonial start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Anchorage on March 7. One of his dogs is blind.   (Mark Thiessen)

A blind dog is helping musher Kelly Maixner find the Iditarod finish line in Alaska. The 5-year-old, 50-pound sled dog named Laura has a cornea disease called pannus, reports Anchorage television station KTUU. But Laura is comfortable running in every spot on Maixner's sled team—except lead. When the pediatric dentist puts her in front, she relies on the other dog sharing the lead position to guide the way.

Maixner first noticed the Alaskan Husky's eyes were becoming cloudy about two years ago. Veterinarians told him she is "fairly blind," and she often seems confused, Maixner said. "Sometimes I have to throw snacks on the ground extra hard so she can hear where it falls," he says. This is Maixner's fifth Iditarod attempt. He scratched from competition late in the race last year, but he's aiming to finish in the top 10 this year with Laura's help. (Read more Iditarod stories.)

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