2 dogs run loose; ailing Mackey dog improves

Beth Bragg
Kyle Hopkins

More dog-gone news from the Iditarod:

A dog from Whitehorse musher Gerry Willomitzer's team got loose Saturday on the trail between Iditarod and Shageluk, the second dog in three days to go solo in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

Iditarod Air Force pilot Jerry Wortley and race judge Karen Ramstead are searching for the dog by air, and trail sweeps are on the lookout too, Iditarod spokeswoman Erin McLarnon said.

Willomitzer is a four-time Iditarod finisher whose best performance came in 2010, when he placed 13th.

A couple hundred miles back on the trail, the search continued for May, who escaped from Jamaica musher Newton Marshall's team Thursday between Rohn and Nikolai.

May is from Jim Lanier's Chugiak kennel. Lanier is running his own team in the race, so his wife, Anna Bondarenko, flew to McGrath from Chugiak to join the search for the dog.

In a message posted on Marshall's Facebook fan page, Bondarenko said May was spotted Saturday near Rohn, the second day in a row the pretty white dog has been seen in the area.

According to the Facebook post, May has made it Nome on a number of occasions with three different mushers -- Lanier, Bondarenko and Nicolas Petit.

Meanwhile, a Lance Mackey dog that started the day in critical condition was upgraded to stable Saturday afternoon.

The dog, Wyatt, was flown from Eagle Island to Kaltag in critical condition. It received treatment there and was flown on to Unalakleet for further treatment. Wyatt "improved greatly throughout the day and is with other dropped dogs in Unalakleet," McLarnon said.

In Kaltag, Wyatt was declared a "red dog," race judge Rhodi Davidson said. That's a code Iditarod veterinarians use for dogs that need immediate care. The levels range from white to blue to red.

"It's critical," Davidson said. "It will be checked here and if necessary we'll send it to Unalakleet."


Reach Beth Bragg at bbragg@adn.com or 257-4335. Reporter Kyle Hopkins contributed to this report.