On one of the coldest nights of the year, with temps dipping well into the negatives, Binelli, a two-year old Chesapeake Bay Retriever, gave birth, for the first time, to 16 puppies. That is a rarity, according to Blackfoot veterinarian Dr. Marcia Matsuura of Matsuura Veterinary Housecall. The dog belongs to Conner Funk and Val and Valerie Ellis of Riverside.
Funk had her bred to Max, a Golden Retriever in the neighborhood, thinking that she would have a normal litter of 6-8 puppies that he could sell. The mixed breed dogs make great pets and hunting dogs.
Set for adventure, Patti Kerscher Allen from Blackfoot is heading to Alaska to work in the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race. She leaves on Wednesday, Feb. 27, and will work for three weeks assisting Vet Tech Cassandra Winslow, a former search and rescue canine handler, with whatever she needs done.
"I'll be whatever she tells me to do," Allen said. "It's going to be exciting.â€ť
The race lasts at average of 12 days, but it takes a long time to get everything back to Anchorage after the race. Allen will be working the four â€śhubs,â€ť flying with the dogs, and working with "drop dogs."