On Frozen Land We Run

What happens to us when we do
what our humans wish us to?

Our bones have been broken
our tendons and muscles torn
We're starved to keep our weight low
and choked in the lines used to tow

If we don't make the cut they kill us
we are culled, even when we're pups
They do it with a shot to the head,
drag us, or club us until we're dead

Many would deem this treatment illegal
because it violates animal cruelty laws
Yet we still end up with bleeding ulcers,
and fur loss, our footpads torn and raw

Many of us spend our life outside, alone
tethered to a short length of metal chain
so short that we must sleep in our own
urine and feces, and do so to our shame

We will get anemia or broken teeth,
get struck with vomiting or diarrhea
Some of us will bleed deep inside
gouged by the sleds the humans ride

Those same humans have skinned us
to make mittens to warm their hands
We fall prey to sprains and viral diseases
while they break our bodies in frozen lands

Some of us get penile frostbite
or ruptured discs in our spines
We get pneumonia, become paralyzed,
suffer from hypothermia--and we've died

Forced to run 1,150 miles over unforgiving land
many will perish, at the mercy of a human's hand
53 percent of us will not cross the line in that final hour
Who's there to speak for us and the lives that were ours?

This race is one of cruelty and of great loss,
one of misery, for many stout-hearted sled dogs!
This popular race that kills, is called the Iditarod...


Copyright 2007 Kathy Pippig Harris

Dedicated to all dogs who have suffered for the run of their lives...
And for those who ARE there to speak for the dogs - The Sled Dog Action Coalition