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Wildfire: An inspiring story of love, courage and healing

Updated: Jan 24

UPDATE: January 2023

Almost exactly one year following the tragic hit and run accident that broke Wildfire’s left rear tibia, fibula, and femur, Wildfire returned to racing.

Wildfire joined the Redington Mushing team on the Gunflint Mail Run on January 7, 2023. This race is an 80-mile race in the northern tip of Minnesota in Cook County, and Redington Mushing took 2nd place!

Wildfire had several surgeries at Mission Animal Hospital to repair his leg with three plates, and more than 20 screws. The injury was so severe, no one knew what his future would hold. His return to racing took months of tender loving care, strict activity restriction while the bones healed, professional rehabilitation, and strategic training.

Dr. Heather Hadley, who performed Wildfire’s surgeries, went to watch Wildfire race and reconnect with this special dog. She had a blast cheering him on!

Wildfire will also be joining Redington Mushing’s team for the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon starting on January 29, 2023.

You can read more about Wildfire’s return to running here:

UPDATE: October 18, 2022

Wildfire has been busy since our last update! He’s traveled around the country and back to Mission Animal Hospital for some further treatments. Check out what he’s been up to!

May - August: Wildfire traveled to Alaska and participated in summer training sessions, which included pulling a cart of tourists through beautiful mountain trails.

Dr. Hadley, who performed the advanced surgeries to repair Wildfire’s leg, made a “house call” up to Alaska to see Wildfire in action. She was thrilled to take one of these “wild” rides and to experience Wildfire’s LOVE of running with his team!

September: Wildfire traveled back to Minnesota to walk the runway at Mission’s Raise the Woof Gala with Redington Mushing’s Sarah Keefer and Ryan Redington. Wildfire was the star of the show!

Now that Wildfire’s fractures have healed, he had some of the plates and screws used to repair his leg removed by the Advanced Surgery Practice at Mission. Given the nature of the sport of mushing, this procedure was performed to help prevent cold sensitivity and/or irritation related to these implants.

October: After some R&R, Wildfire traveled to Wisconsin, where he is currently finishing a prescription of low-impact activity before beginning fall/winter training.

Wildfire continues to impress us all with his resiliency and determination to run! We’re excited to see what lies on the path ahead for this elite athlete!

UPDATE: March 7, 2022:

The 2022 Iditarod is underway! While Redington Mushing is tackling the grueling 1,000-mile sled dog race in Alaska, Wildfire continues to make great strides in his recovery at home - his gait is getting stronger, he can do stairs with ease, and he is mastering the underwater treadmill during his rehab sessions at Twin Cities Animal Rehab and Sports Medicine.

This weekend, Wildfire's ears perked up when he heard the dogs during footage from the Iditarod start and then he frolicked in the freshly fallen snow. Wildfire's caretaker reported that his energy was palpable - almost as if he understood the journey his team was about to embark upon...albeit without him. Although Wildfire may think he's ready to RUN, he still has a long way to go to join his buddies on the trail. For now, we'll embrace how far he's come!fa

Slideshow of more images of Wildfire and his recovery.