Clam Gulch musher still looking for dog after Seward Highway trailer incident

sled dogs
Dogs from Frank Habermann’s team at the 2023 Fur Rendezvous. (Wesley Early/Alaska Public Media)

One sled dog was rescued from an ice floe and another is still missing after a Kenai Peninsula musher’s trailer disconnected from his truck after the Fur Rendezvous this weekend.

Frank Habermann, of Clam Gulch, was driving his truck southbound from Anchorage Monday with his sled dogs in a trailer. The trailer became dislodged on the Seward Highway and the doors opened, letting some of the sled dogs loose, said Alex Boyd, assistant fire chief for the Anchorage Fire Department.

Boyd said it happened around Mile 105, near Indian Creek, between Girdwood and Anchorage.

“It was low tide at the time and the dogs sort of scrambled after the accident, obviously being scared, getting away from the truck and trailer,” Boyd said.

Boyd’s department got the call around 10:20 a.m. and sent crews down to help — and to make sure the people stopping to help were safe.

He said as the tide came in, one of the dogs tried to find higher ground.

“And it just happened to be a piece of ice that started moving once the tide came in far enough,” Boyd said.

The ice started floating out into the inlet. He said they used water rescue bags to get the dog back, uninjured.

“A little bit cold and a little wet, but back to shore,” Boyd said.

Another dog, Donna, ran toward Girdwood and still hasn’t been returned home.

Habermann, the musher, said people have spotted Donna at Indian Creek and they’ve set up a trap to try to get her back. He worries because she’s skittish, but said he hopes she’s found before something happens to her.

Donna is a white dog with a brown face. People with knowledge about Donna’s current whereabouts can call Anchorage Police Department’s dispatch, at 907-786-8900.

Boyd said some of his crew members had just come from watching mushers at the start of the Fur Rondy race when they were called down to the highway.

“Not often do we have an opportunity to help out sled dogs who have been involved in vehicle accidents and end up on an ice floe,” Boyd said. “It’s kind of a string of coincidences that end up putting us there.”

Habermann and his team placed 11th in last weekend’s Fur Rondy sprint.

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