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Keeping sled dogs healthy

The Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby Race Director talks about their commitment to keep sled dogs healthy at this weekend's race.

EXCELSIOR, Minn. — Bethany Hway is the Race Director of the Lake Minnetonka Klondike Dog Derby

Sled dog racing is a sport she was born into. 

"I rode a sled before I learned how to ride a bike," Bethany says.

Her dad raced while she was growing up and even competed in the Iditarod in Alaska. 

Now she's bringing the sport she loves to Excelsior this weekend. 

"We will not compromise in terms of how these dogs are treated," she says.

Bethany says they've drafted a "Statement of Animal Treatment", have three veterinarians on the race's board, and are requiring all mushers (the people who ride on the sled) to be members of the organization Mush With P.R.I.D.E.

"Working with mushers to ensure that their dogs are living in humane conditions – that they are being cared for," Bethany says.

That carries over to race weekend. 

On Saturday a team of around 16 veterinarians and vet techs will see all dogs competing at a pre-race veterinary check

"Every dog will have a thorough physical basically," Bethany says. "They're going to be listening to their hearts, they're going to be checking joints and flexibility and hydration."

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Bethany says it's in the dog's DNA to pull.

Mushers guide them with voice commands and don't use anything like a whip. 

"We have a rule against any and all whips. That is something that you would maybe see in a Hollywood movie," she says. "That is outlawed at every race that I know of so, you will not see that happening this weekend."

Over 250 dogs are in town ready to take on the 40 mile course, which starts at 10 a.m. Sunday on Water Street in Excelsior.

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