Stolen dreams: Bitterroot veterinarian reels after loss of prized dogs

Perry Backus

It took just 15 minutes for Teresa Petterson’s life to turn upside down.

The well-known Bitterroot veterinarian was trying to make every minute count on a recent Thursday morning before loading up her pack of dogs and heading into the Burnt Fork Veterinary office.

Petterson was in the middle of retrofitting a used ambulance into a traveling dog kennel that she planned to use as a base that she hoped would lead her to the world championship dryland dog racing finals this year. Her plans included a new business called Bitterroot Dog Powered Sports that would introduce people to new ways to enjoy their canine companions through skijoring, bikejoring, canicross and packing.

Joring is the Norwegian word for “pulling” or “driving.” A growing number of people are taking up dog-powered sports that occur both on snow and dirt. Petterson competed in six western states last year and was putting the finishing touches on the vehicle she planned to use to travel to the events this year.

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