Skip to main Content

2nd dog on Lance Mackey's team dies on Iditarod Trail

  • Author: Tegan Hanlon
  • Updated: September 28, 2016
  • Published March 20, 2015

Another dog on four-time Iditarod champ Lance Mackey's team died while racing Friday. It was the second dog in his team to die suddenly in just over a week.

The death occurred while Mackey and his team made the 45-mile run from Elim to White Mountain. Around 5:15 p.m., his 3-year-old dog named Stiffy died of unknown causes, according to Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race officials.

On a post on Lance Mackey's Comeback Kennel website, Mackey commented on Stiffy: "Can you say A.D.D. x 5?"

On March 12, Mackey lost his first dog. Three-year-old Wyatt died on the 120-mile route between Tanana and Ruby. Mackey described Wyatt as the "next leader to become famous" on his kennel's website.

A necropsy on Wyatt found no abnormalities that could explain the death, according to a news release from Dr. Stuart Nelson, the Iditarod's head veterinarian. Further testing would be conducted, Nelson said.

Iditarod officials said a necropsy is also planned to determine the cause of Stiffy's death.

Before the deaths of Wyatt and Stiffy, a dog hadn't died while racing in the Iditarod since 2009.

In 2013, one dog that was left at a checkpoint died after it was buried by snow in a storm. Since then, the Iditarod has provided shelter for dropped dogs.

During this year's ceremonial start, a dog died when it was hit by a car in Anchorage after it got loose from the team of musher Lachlan Clarke. Clarke remained out on the trail Friday.

Mackey, who once won the 1,000-mile Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race and the Iditarod back to back, checked into White Mountain around 5:30 p.m. Friday.

He had left from Elim with 10 dogs roughly seven hours earlier.

White Mountain is 80 miles from the finish line in Nome. As of 8 p.m. Friday, Mackey was still in the Western Alaska village.

The first musher, Dallas Seavey, reached Nome early Wednesday. By Friday evening, 35 mushers had completed the race.