The five-year old female dog Oshi died Saturday at an animal hospital in Anchorage in Alaska. She died from the preliminary diagnosis of aspiration pneumonia, a lung infection. Oshi was a sledge dog from musher Richie Beattie. She passed away during the Iditarod race, an annual sledge dog race in March in Alaska.
After the dogs of Beattie finished the challenging race on Thursday, veterinarians examined Oshi and noticed signs of pneumonia. She was then flown by emergency flight to the nearest animal hospital where she died on Saturday.
Oshi was part of the Wildthingz Dog Musihing team of Richie Beattie and his wife. They train their dogs themselves in Alaska.
At the Iditarot Trail Sled Dog Race a musher, the driver, starts with 14 dogs and needs to finish the race in 8-15 days with at least 5 dogs. The race starts in Anchorage and finishes in Nome. During the race dogs get dropped by their boss, because they’re sick or too tired, and flown back to the the start.
Animal welfare advocates have pointed out the animal cruelty happening at these sledge dog races. Sled Dog Action Coalition: “In this race mushers force their dogs to run 1,000 miles over a grueling terrain. No dog wants to run so far or so fast, or can do it without enduring great suffering. Dog deaths and injuries are common in the Iditarod, and when they are not racing, the dogs live under inhumane conditions.”
In 2016 the documentary Sled Dogs was released about how sled dogs are treated.
In 2019 PETA released an eyewitness video of dogs that were once champions in the brutal race and now suffering, abandoned and alone.