Commitment and attachment to one's dog can reach admirable levels, but a moment this week in the Iditarod showed just how far one owner would go to keep his prized pup alive.
Scott Janssen (seen at right with his sled team at the start of the race) was forced to make a decision when his dog collapsed while they were making their way down the Dalzell Gorge in Alaska. Marshall, Janssen's 9-year-old husky, suddenly fell in a heap in the midst of pulling hard at Janssen's sled.
"Boom! Laid right down. It was like a guy my age having a heart attack," Janssen told the Anchorage Daily News. Janssen is an Anchorage funeral home owner, who has dubbed himself "The Mushing Mortician."
When he rushed to Marshall's side, the outlook wasn't good.
"I know what death looks like, and he was gone. Nobody home," Janssen, an Iditarod sophomore (he finished 42 out of 47 last year), said.
For a musher devoted to his dogs, it was a heart-wrenching moment at the worst possible time. The Iditarod is a grind, forged by the will of the musher and his dogs, and the bond they share.
"I was sobbing," he said. He began mouth-to-snout CPR -- compressing the husky's chest and doing his best to breathe life into him. "I really love that dog."