March 9, 2019 4-H Regional Dog Fun Day at Albany Obedience Club

A regional 4-H dog fun day was held at Albany Obedience Club on Saturday, March 9 from 2-4p.m.  Eight young dog handlers attended the event, running the obstacle course, playing games and enjoying snacks. Keeping with the Barb Stevens tradition of telling bad dog jokes at 4-H dog events, we even had some sled dog jokes. For example, Q: What do sled dogs say before telling you a joke? A: “This will sleigh you”! Need another one? Q: Where should you leave your dog team and sled? A: At the barking lot!

Since the event was held during the annual Iditarod Race, we went with an Iditarod theme. For those not familiar with the Iditarod race, it is a long-distance sled dog race (about 1000 miles) from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. It commemorates the serum run organized in 1925 to transport life-saving serum over great distance to Nome, where a diphtheria epidemic was decimating the town. Remember, this was 1925. Sled dogs were the transport available. 

The story of Balto, the sled dog who led the last two legs of the trip was depicted (somewhat loosely) in an old Disney movie “Balto”. It was a dangerous journey for all the teams, some traveling during blizzard conditions over treacherous ice and snow. 

Togo was another lead dog on a team that left Nome heading south to meet up with the teams carrying the serum north. Togo’s team traveled 171 miles before meeting the northbound musher. They turned around, traveling 93 more miles over what was considered the most dangerous part of the journey before passing the serum off to the next team. This was an event that deserves to be remembered.

The weather for the day cooperated. As always, we appreciate the opportunity to utilize the great training facilities at AOC for this 4-H event.

Area youth interested in the 4-H dog program should contact your county 4-H office. For Albany County, contact Emily Lapinel at eel62@cornell.eduor by telephone at 518-765-3500.