Mushers can bring up to 20 dogs to the Iditarod but can start the race with only 16. In the days before the competition, the animals are taken to the Iditarod headquarters in Wasilla, Alaska, for pre-race exams.
Credit Russell Lewis / NPR
Teams of veterinarians inspect the dogs before the race begins. Greg Reppas uses a stethoscope to listen to a dog's heart and lungs.
In Anchorage, Alaska, on Saturday, the "Last Great Race on Earth" begins.
Sixty-seven sled dog teams will start the 998-mile Iditarod race across the barren, frigid and unforgiving land. In this year's competition, there are a handful of first-time racers — but those aren't the only rookies.
One is veterinarian Greg Reppas, whose job is to ensure the dogs are healthy throughout the race.
President Obama, who has issued few pardons during his time in office, announced on Friday that he had pardoned 17 people convicted of mostly minor offenses.
The AP reports:
"No one well-known was on the list released by the White House. Some of the crimes drew light penalties in the first place — such as a North Carolina woman sentenced to two years' probation and 100 hours of community service for distributing satellite cable decryption devices.
In a small public-TV studio before an invitation-only audience of 30 people, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made his case Friday for taking control of Detroit's finances away from the city's elected officials.
The state's signature city is grappling with a declining population, a dwindling tax base and decades of mismanagement — including corruption so pervasive at times that former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is currently on trial for federal racketeering charges.