The Fan Hitch Volume 15, Number 1, December 2012

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

From the Editor

Astrup’s Harness


Akunnirmiut Nunavut Quest, Pt. 2

Sleds, Dogs and Nitrate Film

In the News


Fan Mail


CAAT 2012 Baker Lake Animal Wellness Clinic

  Book Review:  Kamik, an Inuit Puppy Story

Movie Review: Inuk

IMHO: Henson, Pt. 2

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
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IMHO....

Mark and Henson enjoying their cemented relationship.
                                                         Photo: Hamilton

Henson, Part 2

by Mark Hamilton

We’ve had a number of arctic retiree Inuit Dogs now. Looking back at those dogs, of those that didn’t know us before we acquired them, Henson has made the quickest transition to understanding and accepting that he now lives with us and that where we brought him is his new home. Only Puggiq, Tirigainaq and Amaruq adapted more quickly (while in transit with us) but they already knew us from our several prior trips to Pond Inlet. In Henson’s case, by the time we arrived home Henson already understood that from now on he was to be with us. The next morning when we got up and began a morning which didn’t include loading him back into the car for another day’s travel, Henson understood that he was “home.”  He hasn’t looked back, not even once. Instead, he threw himself into the process of learning about his new home and how and where he fit into this reality.

It appears Henson’s natural state is to be happy. He’s always cheerful and outgoing. Moreover, he thoroughly enjoys any and all of his interactions with us. He always comes to greet us when we’re outside and we have only to set off in any given direction for him to immediately follow along. When we stop he ranges around that area, returning frequently for a little attention. His physical appearance and behavioral mannerisms continue to remind us of our first three arctic retirees and there have been no “surprises” in his behavior. He’s an easy dog to live with.

In our small group of dogs we now have three boss dogs. All of the dogs live in the same kennel structure, paired up in different runs except for Henson. He lives alone for now but takes exercise periods with one or the other of our two females. Every other night one of the girls stays with him in his run as well. Henson quickly identified the other two boss dogs in the kennel. He also appears to have observed that those two dogs, Romulus and Qiniliq, who live in different runs, don’t fight at the fence lines with each other. Instead they choose to concentrate their efforts of “schooling” the two subordinate males in the kennel. Henson has also chosen to observe that convention and he too concentrates his efforts on the two subordinate males.


My earlier statement about there being no surprises in Henson’s behavior basically summarizes the whole dog. He’s happy, he’s healthy and he’s ours. There is no question that in Henson’s mind we’re his people and that he’s our dog. Our experience with Henson has mirrored our previous experiences with our other arctic retired Inuit Dogs. He’s just a delight to have around. If you have the setup to accommodate such a dog’s needs I recommend you consider including an arctic retired dog into your dog yard as well.  Our experiences with these dogs have been uniformly wonderful.

Finally, some of you have written in about my most previous IMHO reacting to the news that our current group of dogs will be our last group of dogs. You’ve shared your opinions and some have voiced concerns over Sue’s and my decision to close out our doggie days. Truly, we appreciate both your interest and your concerns. Please, think of this eventuality in terms of the decision so many seniors face as to when to voluntarily give up their driver’s license. In this instance Sue and I choose to take this path now while we are still able to control our dogs, provide the level of care and attention we know them to deserve and before anyone (human or canine) gets hurt. Our dogs depend on us and we will do whatever we need to do to avoid letting them down.
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