My apologies for the tremendous delay in updating this site – I did keep the Facebook site updated, but neglected my duties at daltongangkennels.com. Sorry Dalton Gang fans!
I had a great talk with Dave a few days after the race. As we eased into conversation, Dave’s commitment to his team, above all else, was obvious in every word he spoke. Several factors made this a difficult race for every team this year – first and foremost, the trail was hard and fast, as we dog mushers like to say. Imagine running 1,000 miles on slippery pavement…soreness and injury is inevitable. As the trail took it’s toll on the team, more dogs were left behind in the care of Jen and Ted.
In my experience with dogs in Alaska, a lot comes down to luck in whatever situation you and your team finds themselves in. Regardless of the intensity of training, quality of conditioning, and positive energy amongst the dogs in your team, the cards don’t always fall into place. This year, the Dalton Gang ran into a couple of obstacles that they couldn’t manage to bounce back from – mainly, getting soaked in overflow just outside of Circle. Once saturated, Dave and the team didn’t ever bounce back to full strength. Being the wise man and musher that he is, Dave slowed it down and gave the Gang the time, care, and rest that they needed.
Bashful died on the trail enroute to Pelly from an ulcer. Dave successfully resuscitated Bashful, but she never made it to Pelly. When Dave and the Gang arrived in Pelly, Bashful was transported to Whitehorse so a necropsy could be performed. Losing a dog in any circumstance is ridiculously difficult, but after almost 800 miles Dave consulted with the vet team and determined that it was in the best interest of the Gang to complete their journey to Whitehorse by truck.
Bashful has been cremated and Dave plans to spread her ashes throughout her old training grounds near Healy. Likewise, Bashful will complete her Quest next year – Dave and the Gang will carry her ashes from Whitehorse to Pelly.
Dave and the Gang express their tremendous gratitude for the well wishes, sympathy, and support before, during, and after the 2014 Yukon Quest.