From: Louise Pruce

Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2003 14:34:22 EST

Subject: Pro sleddogs

Hey- I would just like to comment on my views on this sport. Firstly, as a musher, I know that the dogs love running, and pulling the rig. If they didn't, I wouldn't do it! Their excitement before a race is clear to all that watch- it's something they enjoy doing, as well as being exercise for them. Furthermore, a very small minority of people sleep on their sleds. Any musher that cares for their dogs certainly wouldn't- and why have the dogs if you don't care for them? Continuing in this vein, the majority of mushers- in fact all that I know of, do care extensively for their dogs and wouldn't dream of not having vet check- ups before and after races, or putting them on the rig if they were not in good condition to do so. I have looked through the 'con' cases and can see their viewpoint- although I disagree with it.

I particularly disagree with Mr Saraceno's words.

Your feet are raw, cracked and bloody despite wearing "booties." When you protest, your coach hands you Super Glue to affix a patch of moleskin to your oozing sores.

Limping and exhausted, perhaps running with a strength-sapping virus attacking your scrawny 45-pound body, imagine surreptitiously being given tranquilizers or opiates to mask injury or improve performance.

Imagine being tethered to 15 other runners on a 50-foot gangline while pulling 400 pounds. Imagine flipping on your back and being dragged down an icy incline."

Has he witnessed the complete joy the dogs have in racing? Has he seen them in training, along familiar trails around their home, enjoying the hell out of running for the sheer joy of it? He makes some pretty strong points- poin ts that, put together and used in this context could immediately sway anyone viewing the comments to his side. Sled dogs don't need help- they love what they do.

Yours sincerely, Louise Pruce, England.