As Teacher on the Trail, I was sent to this race to experience it from all aspects. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought one of my experiences would be to collect pee from Iditarod dogs. It is a job taken very seriously by the vets and the two women, Kidrin and Maureen, whose sole job it is to collect the pee.
A small canister (about the size of a large pill bottle) is open and a dog from a team put on a leash. The dog is then walked around until the urge to “go” hits. The women will quickly position themselves to hold the canister underneath the stream and make a collection – half full. Next they get another dog and fill the canister. The canister is tagged with the name of the musher and the 2 dogs. The lid is screwed on and evidence tape is put over the top. Mushers’ signatures are taken and go with the specimen.
The small cooler with the pee is locked away if the two women are not with it. They protect the key so no one can tamper with the specimens. From here the pee is flown to a lab in the lower 48 and analyzed. Just like CSI.
After 2 days of watching the women work non-stop, they decided that the Teacher on the Trail needed to give it a try. I have to say, I did OK. I didn’t spill anyway. They were kind and only gave me males for an easier collection. 🙂 Thank you Kidrin and Maureen for letting me experience being part of the vet team. Thank you Jan Steves for letting me be a part of the vet team for your dogs. I know to expect the unexpected, but pee collection? Yes, pee collection.