Petersburg's Clausen Memorial Museum's annual Christmas celebration included a Christmas ornament silent auction fundraiser. So when the call came out I decided to rise to the occasion. But what to do? Ah -- I'd needle felt a sheep and forget hanging it. My sheep would be a candidate for the lucky high-bidder's Christmas manger scene.
I must say, the project provided more enjoyment than Christmas shopping, wrapping gifts, mailing letters (still not finished) and the other "have tos" that add stress to the holiday season. But, as for my sheep -- well Fluff, as he transed into a she, also proved that my idea of a sheep looked more like...well, a canine. Yes, evolution in real time. So, instead of fighting it, I went with the flow.
After photographing her in the wild Karen delivered Fluff to the Museum. That's when I noticed in an image the museum posted on their website that Fluff looked a bit disheveled and had collected a bit of debris during her adventures with Karen. Off I trotted to collect Fluff for grooming only to discover she had been designated to hang via a paper clip attached to her collar. Surely I could rig up a harness for her -- no problem. Umm..er...dang...whoops...oh no...yikes...help...and so Karen did.
Without further ado, I present you with Fluff, Alaska' almost forgotten Iditarod Trail lead sled dog.
Many people know delivery of a canister of diphtheria antitoxin saved Nome in January, 1925, and there, the story seemed to end.
But, did it? No! That 20 pound canister of serum was sent off from Anchorage with a 5 cent deposit so it would be returned to be recycled. And as we all learned from Robert W. Service, "a promise made, is a debt unpaid."
However, after delivery of the antitoxin, NOAA predicted nothing but intense blizzards for the rest of winter. While there were plenty of willing mushers, no dogs could be found able to navigate the Iditarod Trail through all that blowing snow. Could a disaster be averted?
Yes! Up barked Fluff with her nose so bright. Fluff could bring that canister back to the recycling site.
So now you know. Fluff, the almost forgotten lead sled dog from Nome, Alaska, led the dog team through endless blizzards to return that valued Diphtheria serum canister. Alas, no epic story appeared in the New York Times or even got a single Tweet. All that remains is this replica of Fluff needle felted down to the exact detail of that remarkable dog.