Born in Sleetmute, raised in Anchorage

Animal advocates brought this pup, two siblings and her mother to Southcentral Alaska from the rural Y-K Delta area. All four found homes. (Photo by Kathleen McCoy)

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Alaska’s dog mushing legacy is romantic and historic. But it is not without problems. Rural Alaska has few veterinarians and, at least in some areas, abundant dogs.

That’s Kiska in the photo. This is my second time bringing a personal animal story forward to Hometown Alaska listeners. Almost 18

Clare at 14, a few months before her family asked a local veterinarian to euthanize her. (Photo by Kathleen McCoy)

months ago, I hosted a program on how to make the tough decision to put a good dog down. I faced the problem myself, and from walking my old dog, Clare, at local parks, I knew many people struggle with the decision. Local veterinarian John Hightower joined me on the show  and answered listeners questions and concerns. There were tears among the callers.

Our own dear old dog lived another couple of months, until the May day we knew it was her time.

After that, our family went many months without a family dog. We needed time to remember and mourn Clare. But eventually, my husband learned about a rescue organization that connected with rural communities and dogs that needed homes. We liked the idea of rescuing an animal in need.

We drove to Wasilla on an early fall Saturday. At a local pet supply there, advocates had arranged for adoptions. Advance preparation had included an advocate  visiting our home to check out our fenced backyard. We’d passed the test and were eligible to connect with a puppy. Kiska, an Alaska husky mix with a big streak of border collie, is the result.

On the next Hometown Alaska, we’ll share the mic with local groups that have made the connection between rural communities and Alaska’s urban areas, finding homes for Alaska’s dogs in need. If you have a story about an animal you rescued, share it!



  • Angie Lewis,  Alaska Animal Advocates
  • Bev Ausick, Alaskan Animal Rescue Friends (AARF)
  • Jill Bingman, Everts Air Cargo
  • Sally Clampitt, Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach
  • Our listeners and callers



  • Call 550-8433 (Anchorage) or 1-888-353-5752  (statewide) during the live broadcast (2:00 – 3:00pm)
  • Send email to before, during or after the live broadcast (e-mails may be read on air)
  • Post your comment or question below (comments may be read on air)

HOST: Kathleen McCoy

LIVE BROADCAST: Wednesday, December 16, 2015. 2:00 – 3:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

REPEAT BROADCAST: Wednesday, December 16, 2015 – 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. (Alaska time)

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