I am officially an honorary member of the 2015 P Team. Just as in every sport, athletes of the Last Great Race are also tested for drugs. Yesterday, I joined the Pee team as they tested many dogs for performance enhancing drugs. Every major event tests athletes for performance enhancing drugs. At the Ceremonial Start and out on the trail, teams are randomly selected to be tested. In Nome, at the finish, the top 20 teams are tested. The ladies of Pee team just finished testing the top 20 teams; they were up 30 straight hours.
You can’t actually hand a dog a cup and tell him or her to go to the restroom and “pee in a cup.” Instead, I had the opportunity to take several dogs for a walk and wait for them to pee. Typically, as soon as the dog stands up they have the urge to pee. If not, we walk them around until they have to go. When the dog did pee, I had to position a small baggie under the dog and collect his or her pee; boys were easier. I feel I did a pretty good job, except for once getting a little pee on my hand. The next step was to empty the pee into the evidence cup. Kindrin marked down which dogs were tested. The evidence cup is then set into a cooler which is kept under lock and key.
One set of evidence has already been flown away to begin testing with hopes of the results being completed by the finishers banquet on Sunday. Dr. Morrie Craig, head of the drug testing team, sends the evidence out-of-state. The results are usually completed within 24-hours.
The Pee team had been awaiting my arrival to Nome to help with the collection. It has been a tradition for the Teacher on the Trail to help with the collecting of the pee. I had a ton of fun helping the ladies. Anything that involves dogs, you can count me in. I had so much fun, I went back out later and helped some more.
After finishing 30 straight hours of testing, the pee team is sound asleep on the floor of the church. Since the top 20 teams have finished the Iditarod and the testing is complete, their job is officially over. They will be back at it again next year.