NULATO, Alaska — A Fort Lauderdale veterinarian has become a hero of sorts in the Alaskan Bush this weekend after she helped save two dogs badly wounded in a bizarre snowmobile attack on the route of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Alaska authorities say a 26-year-old man allegedly slammed his snowmobile at about 80 mph into the dog team of four-time champion Jeff King, killing his lead dog and injuring two other huskies.
The suspect now claims he was driving drunk. Still, the damage was done.
Enter Dr. Lynel Tocci, a critical and emergency care vet at the Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists on NW 10th Terrace.
Like dozens of vets, Tocci is volunteering her services along the 2,000-mile route in an effort to ensure the well-being of the dogs, who often run nearly non-stop for nine to 10 days.
So happens Tocci was assigned to a checkpoint at Nulato, a town of 350 people accessible only by plane.
That’s where the tragedy that killed Nash, King’s champ lead dog, took place about 2 a.m. Alaska time Saturday.
Tocci said she was brought the two dogs who survived: One suffered from serious shock after having been unconscious for several minutes; the other suffered a fracture to its right forelimb.
Tocci said she immobilized the dog with the broken leg and placed a splint before treating both K-9s with IV fluids and hydromorphone for pain relief.[/vc_column_text]