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Team of Adorable Sled Dogs That Went Viral Celebrates Iditarod Finish—Photos

Bonus: They raised $70,000 for local schools along the way.

Back in January, a Twitter thread by Alaskan sled dog racer Blair Braverman went viral after she lovingly posted about each of the extremely good boys and girls who were training to compete in an annual long-distance sled dog race called the Iditarod.

They became an Internet sensation as she continued to post photos of the days leading up to the highly competitive race, which covers the 938 miles from Anchorage to Nome, and typically takes one to two weeks to complete.

The race is inspired by the famous 1925 mission undertaken by the sled dog Balto, who led his team through impossible conditions to deliver medicine to the dying children of Nome from Anchorage. The trail is highly treacherous, forcing mushers and their dogs to plow through a harsh landscape, freezing temperatures, and white-out blizzards. Sadly, not everybody makes it out alive, so it's really the Mount Everest of dog sled racing.

So it warmed everyone's hearts to know that the 30-year-old musher and her team made it to the finish line on Sunday.

It took the team 13 days, 19 hours and 17 minutes to finish the race, putting them in 36th place overall. But given that this was the first year that she competed in the race, it's still pretty incredible.

"It was the hardest thing I've ever done. And also the most beautiful," she wrote of the experience on Twitter. "The dogs and I took care of each other the whole way. Stories to come, but for now we plan to nap (and eat) for days. All dogs and humans are doing great.

Once Braverman and her team became a media sensation, her extensive fanbase began to refer to themselves as #UglyDogs. In an interview with NPR, Braverman said the name arose when someone on social media told her to "go back to your ugly dogs, Karen." Soon, these fans were raising money to help five fourth-graders at a school in rural Alaska join a school district trip to the race checkpoint.

It only took 24 hours for the fans to raise $7,000 for the students and their chaperones, and they didn't stop there. While Braverman and her dogs were out battling the elements, the fans managed to raise over $70,000 for schools along the competition trail.

It's also worth noting that Braverman is paving the way for women everywhere, as she was one of 52 mushers to compete, only 17 of which were women.

"Mushing is one of the only sports where men and women compete together at elite level," Braverman told NPR. "We are taken seriously as athletes because there's no chance for people to tell themselves we're not on the same playing field."

And given that we're all team #UglyDogs now, take a look at these 50 Dogs That Are So Ugly They're Actually Cute.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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