* Blind dog joins family in Iditarod sled race – 9news.com.au

Source: 9news.com.au
3:18pm March 15, 2015

Ehsan Knopf

Ehsan Knopf

When Kelly Maixner set out on this year’s Iditarod sled race in Alaska, he was faced with a painful decision: leave blind sled dog Laura behind, or bring her along in spite of it.

Two years ago Mr Maixner noticed that his five-year-old Husky’s eyes were going cloudy. A veterinarian subsequently diagnosed Laura with a degenerative cornea disease called pannus.

The disease has left her “fairly blind” and prone to confusion.

“Sometimes I have to throw snacks on the ground extra hard so she can hear where it falls,” Mr Maixner told KTUU.

Despite her condition, Laura has proven still capable of running with the rest of the pack.

Laura is a favourite among her handlers, who have praised her for being "reliable" and a "cheerleader." (KTUU)

Laura is a favourite among her handlers, who have praised her for being “reliable” and a “cheerleader.” (KTUU)

“I think a lot of these dogs could run with their eyes closed and just feel where they’re going,” Mr Maixner said.

Nevertheless Laura is not a confident leader and is most comfortable running in the middle or at the rear of the group.

A favourite among Mr Maixner’s dog handlers, this year’s Iditarod is Laura’s third. She is joined by her father Shane and sibling Bike Mike and Flo.

© ninemsn 2015

via Blind dog joins family in Iditarod sled race – 9news.com.au.

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