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Rookie Iditarod musher loses another dog during transport

ERIK HILL / Anchorage Daily News archive

Silvia Furtwangler, the Iditarod rookie from Germany who lost her lead dog in Anchorage before this year's race, lost another one in the Cascade foothills east of Seattle weeks ago. Residents of several communities had reported sighting the dog, named Smilla, since her escape from a crate after a flight from Alaska, according to the Snoqualmie Valley Record. They even set up a website dedicated to Smilla's capture. She was finally caught in a net Sunday on a golf course after being slightly sedated with spiked food.

Smilla has led would-be rescuers from Fall City to Preston and back over the last six weeks.

Her pursuers have come tantalizingly close to catching her, only to have her flee back into the Valley's wilds.

Jim Branson, president of the nonprofit Missing Pet Partnership, came within five feet of grabbing Smilla last week.

"Lots of people have tried to help her," he says. "But the more people that try to help her, the more she runs."

The article contains no comments from Furtwangler, but an area friend who helped her with dog transport and the search called her "an incredible, neat lady, phenomenal with animals. She is a true wilderness lady."

Furtwangler dropped out of the Iditarod with sick dogs and sled problems early in the race.

Read more at the Snoqualmie Valley Record: Smilla, come home. Details of Smilla's capture and photos are here.