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Nearly 6 weeks after accident, musher says it’s still hard to get behind the sled

Nearly 6 weeks after accident, musher says it’s still hard to get behind the sled
Published: Feb. 28, 2022 at 10:04 AM AKST
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WILLOW, Alaska (KTUU) - For Jaye Foucher, her family in Alaska is a group of Siberian and Alaskan huskies.

“I’m single. I don’t have children,” Jay Foucher, a dog musher from New England, said. “... These guys are like my kids. Almost every dog in this yard is one that I not only had since a puppy but I’ve had since they were born.”

Last August, Foucher took her team from New Hampshire to Willow to train for the 2022 Iditarod, but her dream came to a startling halt five weeks ago.

“I just started screaming hysterically. It’s probably the worst thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Foucher said.

Foucher’s dog team was struck by a truck on a practice run along a route near her residence in Willow. It was a route she had taken countless times with her dogs.

“He took the first half of the team, the front five of the dogs, with him to where he eventually stopped down the road,” Foucher said.

Foucher lost one of her lead dogs, a 2-year-old, immediately at the scene of the accident. Another dog was critically injured — he currently is healing in New England with a broken pelvis, awaiting physical therapy.

Now, more than five weeks since that run, she said her dogs seem to not be affected by the accident. But, for her, it is another story.

“I’ve had a really hard time getting back on a sled and running from this yard again,” Foucher said.

Foucher said she has been back mushing in New England since the collision to test the waters and to see how she would react on a different trail. She said she was able to do it.

However, the trail in Willow holds memories she can’t forget about. The images of their accident are still fresh in her mind.

“There’s just been no way to avoid going past that spot from here,” Foucher said.

Since the collision, Foucher said she has been attending trauma counseling. Her dogs have remained by her side, supporting her with many licks and husky hugs.

“The times I’ve just been inside melting down and crying, the dogs all of a sudden surround me and come up and start cuddling and washing my face and yeah, it helps,” Foucher said.

The dream for Foucher, however, of one day crossing the finish line in Nome is still close to her heart, and she is determined to make it back in the future to run the Iditarod.

“I am not going to let this stop us and stop me from you know realizing my dream,” Foucher said.

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