A dog who went missing during a sled race across Alaska was found almost three months after it disappeared.
Leon escaped from a checkpoint almost 150 miles into the famous 938-mile Iditarod race on March 13, with initial search efforts by the organisers and team handler Sebastien Dos Santos Borges proving unsuccessful.
A Facebook post from The Iditarod at the time read that they were ‘heartbroken over the disappearance’ of Leon, who escaped from the returned dog area at the Ruby checkpoint on March 13.
They said: ‘The Iditarod, along with Ruby community members and the team’s handler, have been actively searching the area since Sunday evening but have so far been unsuccessful at locating Leon.
‘Leon is very shy, so please do not approach him.’
Yesterday, it was confirmed Leon was back with his owner Sebastien Dos Santos Borges,
According to locals in the city of McGrath, the dog had been frequenting the area, with residents leaving out food in the hopes they could contain him.
Once the dog was caught, Sebastien arrived in McGrath to reunite with Leon, before they both travelled to the large city of Anchorage to fly back home to France.
The Iditarod confirmed the news on social media and wrote they could not ‘express enough gratitude for all of Iditarod Nation’s help, prayers, thoughts and well wishes for Leon’.
‘From the volunteers to the search fund organizers and the individual donors, community members along the trail and the heroes of McGrath who have helped towards the cause of finding Leon.
‘Alaska is an incredibly special place as is the spirit of the community, which is part of what makes The Last Great Race so special. Thank you, Iditarod Nation, and welcome home, Leon!’
Sebastien had to continue the race with 11 dogs on the day after the disappearance.
He pulled out of the race – known as ‘scratching’ – after receiving help from a snowmachine due to high winds and difficult weather conditions.
This year’s race was won by Brent Sass with a completion time of more than eight days and 14 hours.
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