ANCHORAGE (KTUU) Deacon, the snow-white 2-year-old sled dog that died late last night on the Iditarod trail belonged to race front-runner Mitch Seavey and was running his first Iditarod to train for a future spot on Mitch’s team.
That according to Taylor Steele, who trained Deacon as a puppy for Seavey and is the girlfriend of racer Seth Barnes. Deacon was one of several siblings running on Barnes' 2017 Iditarod team in order to learn the trail for future competitive runs.
Barnes arrived in Galena with Deacon’s body late last night, according to Iditarod officials.The cause of death has not yet been determined.
Steele said Barnes does not have his phone with him and the two have not yet talked. The trainer provided a kind of obituary for the young husky today in a phone interview with Channel 2. Listen here:
The clip has been edited for length and clarity.
Steele offered a similar statement in writing:
"He is a very playful and energetic dog. Seth is racing the younger team from the kennel. They are supposed to be out of that puppy stage. But it’s supposed to be just an experience run for them."
“So Deacon definitely was in that puppy stage. He was playful. He wanted to play with everybody. Everybody as in dogs and people.
"I know Seth, he examines each and every little detail of each and every dog, and he will drop them for the smallest thing. And I know if something was wrong with him, he would have left him in Ruby or he would have bagged him or something. So I do assume this is something pretty shocking and surprising that didn’t have any onset symptoms that he would have noticed.”