The Fan Hitch Volume 14, Number 2, March 2012

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International
In This Issue....

Editorial: Old Tools – New Tools

Stroma and Skye

Misadventure and Redemption on the Otryt Trail


Meeqi’s Gift

A Boys' Trip on Dovrefjell

Tumivut: Traces of our Footsteps


New Site/Old Site

Piksuk Media's Nunavut Quest Project Progress Report

Media Review: Nunavut Quest: Race Across Baffin

IMHO: Let's Talk

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch


Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Defining the Inuit Dog


Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page


Editor's/Publisher's Statement
Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.

Print subscriptions: in Canada $20.00, in USA $23.00, elsewhere $32.00 per year, postage included. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Make checks payable in Canadian dollars only to "Mark Brazeau", and send to Mark Brazeau, Box 151 Kangiqsualujjuaq QC J0M 1N0 Canada. (Back issues are also available. Contact Sue Hamilton.)


The Fan Hitch
welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.


Contents of The Fan Hitch are protected by international copyright laws. No photo, drawing or text may be reproduced in any form without written consent. Webmasters please note: written consent is necessary before linking this site to yours! Please forward requests to Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Rd., Harwinton, Connecticut  06791, USA or mail@thefanhitch.org


The Inuit Sled Dog International

The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0; gmontcombroux@gmail.com
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, mail@thefanhitch.org


Qimmiq thoroughly enjoying her final winter.    Photo: Hamilton

Meeqi's Gift



by Mark Hamilton

We keep dog brushes and combs outside in a handy location so that we are always prepared to help the dogs through their "spring" shedding season, which in our case can take place anytime between April and November. We also keep a small covered trash can in the same area so that undercoat can be quickly disposed rather than having it drifting around the backyard and decorating various plantings. Our older dogs don't shed as early in the season or as quickly as our younger dogs, so we're brushing and combing them when they are the only dogs in need of grooming. Certainly not in all cases, but sometimes we also save what we believe will be a particular dog's last sheds. Such was the case with our long-time leader and self-appointed "queen of the kennel" Qimmiq, whom we lost in 2011, her fifteenth year.

While the idea of a number of bags of a dog's undercoat still carrying that dog's aroma being kept stored in a closet probably isn’t all that repellent to many dog owners, in practical terms you really do need to find a use or purpose for that fur. Last fall we took our bags of "Meeqi's" fur to In Sheep's Clothing, a knitting supply store. The owner also spins natural fibers and makes knitted items for sale in her shop. She agreed not only to spin that wooly undercoat into yarn, but also to do only minimal washing so that it would retain Meeqi's aroma. Further, she would knit us each a pair of custom mitten liners.

As she processed the fur, from carding to spinning to knitting, it was used just as it came raw out of the bag rather than sorting it into it's various colors so it could be used to knit a pattern. We considered that an excellent decision as we feel the natural finish of our mittens are very much in keeping with Meeqi's agouti appearance. Our mitten liners are very warm, warmer than any ragg wool or acrylic pile liners we have. With use the inside surface of our mitten liners have felted producing a nice, smooth surface against our hands. Best of all, we have only to hold them near our faces to catch the scent of an old friend with whom we spent so many pleasurable hours and years, outside and in the snow, driving down forested trails.


                                           Photo: Hamilton

While that would be enough for us, there is still more. The aroma emanating from our mitten liners is not just noticed by our dogs, it has an identity they recognize. When they lived together, Romulus treated Meeqi like royalty and he loved her. The first time we wore our mitten liners around him he immediately came to our hands and pressed his face against them. And he kept on sniffing and pressing his face against them, refusing to have any interest in anything else. Qiniliq and Sunny both spent much time happily wagging their tails and sniffing at the mitten liners. Meeqi always considered these two dogs as her boys. Pakaq immediately pulled one of the mittens off my hand and endeavored to run away with it. Pakaq had been Meeqi's understudy, running at double lead along side her. Like the boys, bitches Piqatik and Monkey also recognized the aroma on our mitten liners and neither was especially happy. Alpha bitch "Meeqi" treated the other girls with disdain and they knew it. Piqatik turned her head away from the liners and refused to look at them again while Monkey, who assumed Meeqi's social status in the kennel after the older bitch's departure, immediately began flea biting at the mittens.

We still have a number of skeins of Meeqi's fur so the knitting is continuing. Sue now has a hat and his-and-her fingerless gloves are next. They too will be warm, both for our hands and our minds.

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