Denali National Park has unveiled the newest members of its sled dog team over the past few days.
Eight puppies were born in the park’s kennel last month as part of a breeding strategy that supports the park’s mushing program. According to the valet, sled doghouse managers breed for qualities like long legs to break tracks through snow, compact paws that resist ice formation between the toes, and sturdy coats that stay warm in Alaska’s harsh winter climates.
But physical characteristics are only part of the story. The kennel managers also look for certain character traits such as tenacity, love of running and pulling, and social inclinations – dogs that seek human attention.
This year’s puppies are called Jolie, Merlyn, Gus, Dargo, Apollo, Sage, Blitz and Boomer.
These names have a very special meaning. Kennel employees have decided to honor the hero dogs on September 11th on its 20th anniversary. They named the puppies after eight of the 300 or so dogs that helped with search and rescue operations after the terrorist attacks. They hope these names honor not only the memory of the search and rescue dogs, but also the dog handlers, firefighters, and law enforcement officers who responded in America’s distress.
In addition, Denali National Park also has its live “Puppy camera“So that the audience can watch the puppies frolicking and growing. Interested viewers can find the link to the puppy camera on the KTNA website.