Sled dog caught four days after Seward Highway escape

a white dog near a kennel outside
Donna the sled dog at home in Clam Gulch. (Courtesy Of Frank Habermann)

A sled dog who was lost after a highway accident last week has been found and will be returned to her owner in Clam Gulch soon.

Five-year-old Donna went missing last Monday. Her owner, musher Frank Habermann, was driving back to Clam Gulch from Fur Rondy in Anchorage following an 11th-place finish when his trailer came off his truck. The doors opened, letting some of the sled dogs loose onto the Seward Highway, near Girdwood.

One of the dogs ran onto an ice floe in Cook Inlet and was later rescued with help from the Anchorage Fire Department. But Donna ran off toward Girdwood.

Two days later, she was spotted on a cabin porch in Indian. Some volunteers put out a live trap to get her back.

Habermann said the hard part was getting the skittish dog to come close.

“She would not come close enough for them to grab her, which is her normal behavior,” he said. “She’s the kind of dog with a wild animal personality.”

On Friday, four days after her escape, the volunteers finally lured her into one of the live traps. Now, she’s staying with one of Habermann’s friends in Anchorage.

Habermann said he’s relieved. And he said all the dogs are doing ok.

“You couldn’t tell anything happened to the dogs,” he said.

He said the trailer was built by a local maker, who agreed to deal with the wreck and the associated costs. But without a way to transport the dogs, he said his race season is over, for now.

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