“Give Me Your Little Paw”


In a luminous essay for the Morning News, Julia Phillips describes tagging along with the mushers of the Beringia, a Russian dogsled race that’s like the Iditarod but even more intense.

It’s a definite must-read in which Phillips deftly chronicles the simultaneous beauty and horror of half-wild dogs, a rainbow of Russian curses, the “mat of intimacies and betrayals” between contestants, and of course, the endless, unbelievable cold of the tundra. A preview:

I never thought, I will stand on the runners of a dog sled and feel them flex like a live animal under my boots. I will sit across from someone who turns his hand over to show me the tendons severed by enemy soldiers in Chechnya.

Lauren O'Neal is an MFA student at San Francisco State University. Her writing has appeared in publications like Slate, The New Inquiry, and The Hairpin. You can follow her on Twitter at @laureneoneal. More from this author →