It’s impossible not to fall in love with all of them
Dogsled racer Blair Braverman, a nonfiction writer and correspondent for OutsideMagazine, has a team in the Iditarod dog sled race this year and she would like everyone to get to know them a bit better. Not the humans involved, but her dogs. So, she created a Twitter thread introducing each one that’s both heartfelt and absolutely hilarious, and will leave all who read it cheering for them on race day.
For those of you unfamiliar, the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is an annual long-distance race that runs in early March from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska. Mushers (the individuals on the sleds) and a team of 16 dogs cover the 938 miles in eight to 15 days.
Right now, we have 20 dogs in training for the Iditarod—and 14 pups will enter the actual race. Allow me to introduce you to the BraverMountain Varsity Team.
— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
So, Braverman thought it would be a good idea for folks to get to know them, one by one. Their hopes, their dreams, their political affiliations, and all sorts of other fun facts about them. Here is just a snippet of the awesomeness, but you’ll definitely want to check out the thread in its entirety.
First up is the mom of the group, Pepe.
1. Pepé— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
We have many dogs who can lead the team, but our true Lead Dog — the pup who makes each run happen, who gets us through every storm — is Pepe. Pepe is smarter than all of us. She will run forever and keep running. She is basically everyone’s mother. pic.twitter.com/K6ckFTvv6l
Braverman also added that “If Pepe leads us the 1000 miles to Nome, her own mother (a legendary leader who retired to be a pet last year) will be waiting for her at the finish line.” Because that’s what mothers do.
Next up is sweet Flame.
2. Flame (age 5)— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Flame is my souldog. She is desperately codependent and we are both happiest when we are in physical contact at all times. She is also, to my occasional surprise, a fantastic sled dog. She finished every one of my qualifiers with me and never seems to tire. pic.twitter.com/JpWVcWxb94
She made sure to include a “fun fact” about Flame who apparently isn’t too jazzed about human babies but loves all other varieties. Bless.
Fun fact: Flame is terrified of human babies but loves baby animals. She’s been an aunty to all our puppies and once accidentally adopted some chickens. https://t.co/bpm3TjYRJI— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Then, there’s Flame’s half-sister, Jenga, who is a serious “Boss Bitch.” We are very much here for Jenga.
3. Jenga (age 8)— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Flame’s half-sister Jenga is a Boss Bitch and she doesn’t suffer fools. She was my first leader and is the only dog mentioned in Ice Cube by name. I feel that Jenga and I understand each other, because we are both fearful creatures prone to fearless decisions. pic.twitter.com/l84GElL51N
Up next is my personal favorite, Grinch, who’s a few cards short of a full deck, has an overbite, and limbs that “are fitted together like off-brand LEGOs.”
4. Grinch (age 6?)— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Grinch has a heart of gold and a brain like a box of rocks. He is extremely strong, maybe our strongest dog, but is easily confused. He loves attention. He loves giving hugs. He has a significant overbite and his limbs are fitted together like off-brand LEGOs. pic.twitter.com/jrmob29ynt
Also, he “only runs south.” I die.
Also, he only runs south. https://t.co/V1VSYGDRWL— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Next is two-year-old, Spike, who was born with the biggest head of the litter.
12. Spike (age 2)— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Spike, son of Pepe, is the largest pup from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer litter. He was born with a head that was twice as large as his siblings’ heads and he’s just about grown into it. pic.twitter.com/GC4u0j2IQt
Spike was also an early “advocate for transgender equality” so we love him just a little bit more.
Fun fact: Spike is a longtime advocate for transgender equality. pic.twitter.com/x1LW0xzDtn— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Colbert, the only Catholic of the bunch, is the resident pack cheerleader and is also scared of heights.
5. Colbert (age 5)— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Colbert is a big hunk of burning enthusiasm. At checkpoints, when it’s time to start running again, he’s always the first dog on his feet and he barks and jumps until the other dogs stand up. He usually runs in wheel, the position right in front of the sled. pic.twitter.com/sRXJ8y788C
Boudica is the lover of the group, enjoys kissing, and scores at the top of Braverman’s SDSI (Sled Dog Softness Index) which is based on the “softness of individual hairs, and overall fluffiness.”
I really, really want to be friends with this woman.
7. Boudica (age 4)— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Boudica is a lead dog with an obsession with gentle kisses. It’s very hard to be around her sometimes without having your face absolutely covered in sneaky licks. She is half-sister to Pepe and has extremely soft fur. pic.twitter.com/RQkXaKzkg2
Braverman then takes time out of her busy schedule to rate the SDSI of all of her pups.
I will be ranking the sled dogs from least to most soft, on a scale of 1-10. To do this, I will use a scientific scale known as the SSSI, or Sled Dog Softness Index. Each dog’s SSSI score is based on two categories: the softness of individual hairs, and overall fluffiness. pic.twitter.com/zZ5PvJ9j8z— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) September 20, 2018
She does this because she wants us all to be happy. Here are a few gems.
Pepe doesn’t just lead the team through hundreds of miles of arctic wilderness; she also scores a whopping 11.7 on the scale. See that pineapple? She stole it off a picnic table because she is so soft that she needed to claim a pointy object to restore balance to the universe. pic.twitter.com/ElcXTf9dGT— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) September 21, 2018
Boudica is the second-softest dog on the whole team. Her fur reaches whole new dimensions of softness. Don’t get me started on her ears! It is a good thing they are on opposite sides of her head, because if they were closer together, they would break the laws of physics. 17/10 pic.twitter.com/qqNRCdqmZx— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) September 21, 2018
It’s clear how much love and admiration Braverman has for her dogs and is also willing to educate the public, some of whom voiced concerns over the relative safety of dogs being put through such a long and physical race. She explained the dogs are bred for racing and if for some reason she begins to train a dog and they don’t enjoy it, the dog becomes a pet of the family. She also said the dogs are given around 10,000 calories a day, plenty of rest, and as you can tell by her stories, an abundance of love.
And that’s everybody in training right now! I can’t wait to keep exploring with these friends. pic.twitter.com/sWlUlwNa52— Blair Braverman (@BlairBraverman) January 2, 2019
Good luck in March and we will be cheering you and all your lovely pups on!