Team Ineka

A Life with Dogs

A Life with Dogs

By Robert Forto, PhD

The relationship between a sled dog driver and his dogs is unique in history, and in the world of sports. The dependence of the driver on his dogs, and the dogs on the driver is like no other sport. A well trained team is virtually priceless to its owner. Every dog in the team is important, although a driver often favors his leader.  There is no question the task of bringing the best out of his dogs falls on the driver. It is no accident that the exceptional lead dogs belong to exceptional drivers.

Throughout history, several racing drivers (and their dogs) stand out as superior. Not only are their racing records impressive, but these drivers have been able to bring an uncommon talent to their sport and to advance it in several distinct ways. Besides those already honored in the Dog Mushers’ Hall of Fame, others have made or are making extraordinary contributions to sled dog racing, and they will be the recipients of future honors.

Many of these mushers are household names, like Seppala, Jonrowe, Butcher, Neff and Buser. Others are family dynasties like Mackey and Reddington. The sport of mushing (or as some still call it dog sledding) is the most unique sport in the world. It is a full time job, a passion, a dream chaser and a way of life. There are very few “weekend warriors” in the sport of mushing. Why? The answer is simple: A musher lives a life with dogs…

What are your stories of life on the trail? Send me an email at


Dr. Robert Forto the Dog Sledding Examiner and is a musher training for his first Iditarod racing under the Team Ineka banner.

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