Jodi Bailey is truly a mushers’ musher! She lives for her kids, as she and Dan call them. She and her husband Dan Kaduce built and run Dew Claw Kennel in Chatanika, Alaska. Their kennel’s residents are Alaskan Huskies and you can always find plenty of puppies.
Jodi has the distinction of being the first rookie musher to finish the Iditarod and Yukon Quest sled dog races in the same year. Imagine preparing for, and running, 1000 miles from Whitehorse, Canada to Fairbanks, Alaska in the beginning of February; returning home, filling and delivering Iditarod drop bags, then running another 1000 miles across Alaska from Willow to Nome. What a daunting task to run just one long distance race! Jodi thoroughly enjoyed her first Yukon Quest and after a little rest was raring to go on the Iditarod Trail. Her husband Dan, also a Yukon Quest and Iditarod finisher, is her biggest supporter. Their successes are a tribute to a great partnership they have developed over the years.
When talking with Jodi at the vet checks on Wednesday I asked her what her goals for this year’s race are. As always, Jodi was so gracious, even when involved in the busy job of taking dogs out of a dog box, hooking them up, answering vet questions, filling out all of the necessary paperwork to get her team approved for the race, and putting the dogs back in the dog box. She is taking a very young team to Nome and her ultimate goal is having them learn to work as a team, have fun together, and to start learning the trail. She is not racing to win. She is racing to race well, not place well.
Jodi enjoys helping teachers use their love of dogs and the Iditarod in their classrooms. She was instrumental in helping me design a science lesson involving insulation properties of sled dog fur. I was at the Yukon Quest headquarters in 2011 listening to her give a presentation. She was explaining the double coats of huskies and why it is essential in the winter, but in the summer the undercoat must shed. She proceeded to demonstrate how she brushes her dogs and it dawned on me I could use that fur in my classroom. What started with one bag of fur wound up developing into a huge series of lessons! My class sent her our graph showing how Dew Claw Kennel compared to other dog furs. When talking with her before the ceremonial start she mentioned how important education is to her. She mentioned it was evident that I understand Howard Gardner’s Seven Multiple Intelligences through the problem solving, logical reasoning, math, science, writing, analysis, and a clear understanding of how kids think during the dog fur experiment. Thank you, Jodi Bailey, for your donation of husky fur and your continued interest in how teachers utilize Dew Claw Kennel to motivate students of all ages.