Denali National Park introduced new members of its sled dog team in recent days.
Eight puppies were born at the park’s kennel last month as part of a breeding strategy that supports the park’s mushing program. According to the park service, sled kennel handlers breed for qualities such as long legs to break snow, compact paws to resist ice buildup between the toes, and sturdy coats to stay warm in Alaska’s harsh winter climate.
But physical traits are only part of the story. Kennel managers also look for specific traits, such as tenacity, a love of running and pulling, and social tendencies – dogs that crave human attention.
This year’s puppies are called Jolie, Merlyn, Gus, Dargo, Apollo, Sage, Blitz and Boomer.
These names have a very special meaning. The kennel staff chose to honor the 9/11 hero dogs on its 20th anniversary. They named the puppies after eight of the approximately 300 dogs that took part in search and rescue efforts after the terrorist attacks. They hope these names will honor the memory not only of search and rescue dogs, but also of the handlers, firefighters and law enforcement officers who served America’s needs.
Additionally, Denali National Park has also launched its live “puppy cam” so viewers can watch the puppies as they frolic and grow.
Interested viewers can find the puppy camera link posted on the KTNA website: https://www.nps.gov/dena/learn/photosmultimedia/webcams-pups.htm