WATCH: Lemmon girls dream comes true when she adopts former Iditarod sled dog
LEMMON, S.D. — The Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race in Alaska will have an upper Midwest connection.
Seven-year-old Sloane Penfield of Lemmon, South Dakota, and her new best friend, Harley, will be watching the world famous race more closely than the rest of us.
This is a moment Sloane Penfield has been dreaming about for most of her young life.
“There’s this movie that I watched when I was little called Eight Below. And I just heard about it, and I just fell in love with it,” Penfield said.
Sloane had been trying to fill six two-liter bottles with dimes. Someone told her that would be enough money to buy her own Husky someday. But before she could fill all those bottles, her dream came true. In November, her parents surprised her with a trip to Montana – and a visit to Skinny Leg Sled Dogs to get her very own sled dog.
“They came out here we did a little sled ride together. And then we came back to the barn and I asked her if she liked Harley quite a bit and she said she did and she loved him and then he said, well, he’s yours if you want. And she didn’t know what to do,” said Brett Bruggeman, former Iditarod racer.
“I was so surprised,” Penfield said.
Harley raced in two Iditarods. He’s retired now, and his owners were looking for a forever home for him. Sloane was the perfect match.
“It’s been so fun to see all the things that she’s doing her family. She reads in books rooms and gives them baths. “
There hasn’t been enough snow this winter for Sloane and Harley to practice mushing, so the dynamic duo has found a compromise.
She’s hooked Harley to her bike
Now Sloane is busy planning for Harley’s birthday – he’ll be 11 this month.
“I’ll probably give him a toy too.”
Sloane’s mom sends photos and videos to Brett and his wife, so they can keep tabs on Harley and Sloane. Brett says he’s happy to see his best friend find a new best friend.
“It’s pretty much perfect that he’s with her. “
Sloane couldn’t agree more. These mushing mates plan to keep going…and going…and going – long after this year’s Iditarod race is finished.
Sloane has started baking homemade doggie treats for Harley. She donated four dozen treats and two copies of the Skinny Leg book to a benefit auction for a classmate who has Leukemia and raised more than $300.
This year’s Iditarod begins March 6.