‘It’s super nerve-wracking’: Iditarod dog missing in Anchorage after escaping race headquarters

Iditarod organizers are on the lookout for musher Richie Diehl’s dog Jimbo after he escaped the Iditarod’s returned dog area at the Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 1:03 PM AKST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2022 at 8:35 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race is on the lookout for musher Richie Diehl’s dog Jimbo after he escaped the Iditarod’s returned dog area at the Lakefront Hotel in Anchorage on Thursday morning.

The race asks if people see Jimbo to not approach him, but rather call 907-248-6874 to report the location. Jimbo is wearing a collar with a red tag that says Iditarod No. 18.

“Iditarod personnel are continuously searching the surrounding areas for Jimbo and are following any and all tips being reported,” an Iditarod spokesperson wrote in an email on Thursday. “... Like all sled dogs that compete in the Iditarod, Jimbo is microchipped, and will get linked back to the Iditarod.”

The spokesperson added that primary contacts have been notified as well as the Anchorage Police Department, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport Police and local animal shelters.

Jimbo, one of musher Richie Diehl's sled dogs, has been missing in Anchorage, Alaska since the...
Jimbo, one of musher Richie Diehl's sled dogs, has been missing in Anchorage, Alaska since the morning of Thursday, March 10, 2022.(Photo courtesy Iditarod)

“They use these trailers for the vets and the dropped dogs,” Diehl’s wife Emerie Fairbanks said over the phone on Thursday. “He was in one of them and someone opened a door and he got out. ... As soon as we heard that we kind of just started texting everyone we knew in the area.”

Fairbanks has been monitoring the search for Jimbo from their home in Aniak and said their handlers and family members immediately began searching this morning when they found out he was missing.

“It’s super nerve-wracking, especially having him being in Anchorage,” Diehl’s wife Emerie Fairbanks said over the phone on Thursday. “Where he’s used to out here in Aniak where he sees snowmachines, four-wheelers and maybe a truck here or there. He’s not used to traffic. He’s not really around too many people.”

Diehl had dropped Jimbo at the Nikolai checkpoint because of a slight cough and the dog was then flown back to Anchorage, according to Fairbanks. When Jimbo arrived in Anchorage she said the veterinarians kept him for a night to monitor the cough.

Jimbo is part of a litter of dogs named after college football coaches and his name is a nod to Texas A&M University head football coach Jimbo Fisher, according to Fairbanks.

As of the writing of this article, Diehl was in second place and is out of the Cripple checkpoint, behind Brent Sass.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with additional information.

Correction: This article has been updated to correct that Jimbo the dog ran in both the ceremonial start and the Iditarod, and was dropped at the Nikolai checkpoint.

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