Meet Slater and Morello, the sled dogs who led Brent Sass to victory

Slater and Morello led Brent Sass’ team to its first Iditarod victory. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Slater and Morello sled dogs led Brent Sass’ team to victory early Tuesday, winning their first Iditarod Trail sled dog race.

The two Alaskan huskies are six years old. During the 1,000 miles of the Iditarod, they led the dogteam and Sass through gusty winds, over hills and over pack ice.

“Slater was almost up there the whole race,” Sass said. “It’s hard to take him out because he maintains speed more than anything. And the same with Morello. They’re really good at getting through checkpoints without any hesitation.

It’s good for Sass, who prefers to go through the checkpoints and rest right next to the trail, where it’s more secluded and quiet.

He summed up the two dogs in one word: “amazing.”

RELATED: The Iditarod has a new champion: Brent Sass comes first in Nome

Slater has two siblings on the team, Woodie and Pink. They are all part of the litter named after characters from the movie “Dazed and Confused” in honor of their April 20th, Sass said. Slater is a good listener and eager to please, according to his biography on Sass’ kennel website, Wild and Free Mushing.

“Slater is one of the most affectionate and happy dogs in the kennel,” he says.

Slater was part of Sass’ Iditarod team last year when they placed third.

A dog in a coat
Slater on arrival in Nome. (Lex Treinen/Alaska Public Media)

Then there is Morello.

Morello is part of the litter named after characters from the television series “Orange is the New Black”. Morello is “a force to be reckoned with,” says his online biography. His parents are Celia and Basin.

“Morello has a strong personality and has become one of the main leaders of the Wild and Free team (which makes perfect sense with super talented leaders as parents),” his biography says.

Morello has raced in the Copper Basin 300, Yukon Quest and Iditarod, including the third-place team last year.

Sass congratulated Morello and Slater — and his entire team — at the Nome finish line on Tuesday. He raised each dog, training them since they were puppies.

“We worked towards that goal all the time,” he said. “And here we are. It’s crazy.”

Morello and Slater are part of our Iditarod “Dog of the Day” series. Previously, we’ve met Chevelle, who loves to bark, Nala, the peppy cheerleader, Butcher, who needs her space, Sherlock, just a big doofus, Tundra, an unpredictable captain, Steve, who’s a little idiot, Viva, an imperturbable sailor, Stealie, who loves cuddles, and Zeke the rescue dog.

Alaska Public Media’s Tegan Hanlon contributed to this story.

Bette C. Alvarado