Alaska: A tale of love and couragePublished 2:47pm Friday, July 6, 2012
The doctor was amazed at his recovery and Susan entered him in a shorter race with the younger dogs and he led them to victory, but could he finish the thousand mile race? Granite was determined to prove that the scrawny pup she’d put so much faith in, indeed had the heart of a champion.
Susan put him on lead again for the next Iditarod and before the race held Granite in her arms and said, “if you’re willing dear friend, than so am I.”
During the race the team got caught in a raging blizzard, all other teams had stopped but it was too late for Susan. In the harshest of conditions and visibility next to zero, against all odds, Granite miraculously led them to the next check point.
Susan and Granite went on to win that race by a record setting 18 ½ hour margin.
Susan Butcher, this great lady who I admired, died of Leukemia in August 2006, but not before Granite, who lived 17 ½ years, died in her arms.
On my trip to Alaska I had the honor and privilege to meet Susan’s husband, David, and their daughters, Tekla and Chisana, along with many of Granite’s protégées.
Granite is now considered the Secretariat of sled dogs and to receive a pup from his bloodline is highly desirable.
My group made David aware of my mission and when I told him how much I admired his late wife, he spoke with me for nearly an hour. He then handed me something I will cherish forever. It was a book entitled “Granite.” In it David inscribed, “From my kids to Lennie’s kids.”
Thanks for listening.
P.S. those same people who had not believed in Susan and Granite said, “It’s no wonder they win the race because she takes the best care of her dogs and they take care of her.”