|Rio dozes at the Elim checkpoint. (Photo by Philip Walters)|
When you’re a sled dog named after an evil pug, some may think it is best to keep their expectations low. Others may expect global domination. Yet, for Rio, or Junior as he is called by those who know his namesake, his rookie year of racing was one of a steady rise.
“How did Junior do?” Rebecca asked AJ after each run this season. And, later, “Do you think he’ll make the team?” AJ’s response was always positive, yet always cautious. Best not to get her hopes up. Realistic and protective---that is AJ’s way. Yet, as the season progressed, Rio found himself training more and more with the fine-tuned machine of AJ’s race team.
Rio crossed the finish line of his rookie run in Iditarod with a healthy appetite, good weight, a happy attitude, and his eyebrows perked.
Well done, Junior. You make a pug proud.