Mark (and Jamie West) and I had nice talks about the team and the troubles we were having. Mark and I made the decision that I would rest here 12 hours before heading over to Shaktoolik. I went outside and napped on the straw with the dogteam (specifically Herman) for a few hours. When I woke up I noticed that Odie was panting pretty hard. I called a vet over and his recommendation was to drop him, as he felt it well could be the start of pneumonia. Although he did tell me I could take him if I was 'careful'. 'Careful' with a Siberian team does not involve a small team, big hills, warm temperatures and punchy conditions.
Odie was not the only dog with issues on the team either - 5 more are on antibiotics for one thing or another.
Faced with driving a 7 dog team through more of the same when it came to trail conditions and weather we decided to scratch from the Race. My first and biggest priority will always be to my dog team. I want - no need - to always be able to look them in the eye, knowing that I have always strived to put their best interests first. This decision allows me that.
More once I'm back in Willow - which I'm told will be 2 or 3 days. My spirits have been tremendously 'buoyed' tonight by all your wonderful words and wishes.
PS. And yes, I had pizza tonight. Doug Swingley's wife, Melanie Shrilla and I shared a Greek pizza from "Peace on Earth" for dinner tonight. It was wonderful.