Tempest, who barks at the sparkles in the snow

A dog licks the face of a man in a jacket
Jessie Holmes gets some affection from his lead dog Tempest at the checkpoint in Nikolai on Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (Jeff Chen/Alaska Public Media)

Tempest is a little more chatty than most dogs. She’s Jessie Holmes’s lead dog, and she barks at just about anything, he said, “sparkles in the snow, pretty trees, little bit of wind.”

Holmes said if teams are in front of him, they can’t stand it. And once his dog team hits the coast at Unalakleet, Holmes said, Tempest will not shut up.

She’s five years old, and this is her fourth Iditarod. Holmes calls her a sweetheart and his best friend.

He said he tries to rotate leaders as a good practice, but Tempest can’t stand it.

“It just breaks her heart,” he said. “She loves being up here so much.”

Without a dog like Tempest, he says, “you just can’t pull off what we’re trying to pull off.”

Tempest is part of our “Dog of the Day” Iditarod series. Previously we met Morello and Slater, who led Brent Sass to victory, Chevelle, who loves to bark, Nala, the peppy cheerleader, Butcher, who needs her space, Sherlock, just a big doofus, Tundra, an unpredictable captain, Steve, who’s kind of a jerk, Viva, an unflappable navigator, Stealie, who loves hugs, and Zeke the rescue dog.

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