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Canadian Inuit Dogs I have Owned, Raised and Trained:
a photo essay; Part 1
A BAS Doggy Man Reminisces:
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
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A dog in Iqaluit photo: Hamilton
Where We Stand
by Mark Hamilton
First: By now you’ve probably read about the change of location made for the temporary, backup asphalt plant project in Iqaluit. Kudlik Construction has changed their plan from building on the West 40 site to a different site they say better serves the needs of the residents. We have no knowledge of how this change came to pass or if the city was involved in any way in this decision. However, we do send a big thank you to Kudlik Construction for their decision.
Second: This change of location for the backup asphalt plant is good news for Iqaluit’s dog drivers/team owners, assuming the city continues to allow dogs to be picketed at the West 40. As of now we haven’t heard anything about that matter. We also have no knowledge as to whether the city may now take this opportunity to make good on their old/original promise to officially designate an area for the picketing of dog teams. If they do we have no idea if that would be at the West 40 site or in some other location.
Third: We don’t know of any actions taken relating to the water pollution problem reported on in our September issue of The Fan Hitch.
So, there’s a lot we don’t know in terms of issues in Iqualit previously reported in The Fan Hitch. It’s likely some or even much of this is because other people feel these are things we have no need or reason to know. I will even agree with that assessment where the subject is part of the day-to-day nuts and bolts of running a city, town or hamlet. Our interests remain on and with the Inuit Dog and related Inuit Dog culture. Necessarily those interests will encompass on occasion government actions and inactions.
Government support in Canada for the dogs in the north is pretty much limited to the vaccine programs that are available to all the dogs, not just the ISD. As a domestic animal the Inuit Dog isn’t under the purview of government agencies and programs set up to monitor and support wildlife. In that regard the Inuit Dog is no different from any other domestic dog in that it’s just not part of those agencies' responsibilities.
Understanding this reduces the frustration I feel over there not being any other government actions taken in the ISD’s interest after the May 2000 naming of the Inuit Dog as the Official Animal of Nunavut. That decision it seems was actually just an official proclamation. Once it was written, passed and signed, government’s work was done and they moved on to the next item on their agenda. From my point of view I’m ok with that. I understand that government involvement in private undertakings always comes with a cost. Your autonomy is usually compromised or entirely lost. Rules and reporting are almost always imposed, not to mention fees and taxes.
This leaves all of us exactly where we’ve always been. It all hinges on us and the dogs, nothing else. If we want the dogs to be here for future generations we’re the ones that have to make that happen. And don’t forget, there have to be dog drivers to work those dogs. If there are dogs but no dog drivers it’s over. And if there are dog drivers but no more dogs it’s also over. The dogs and the culture of dog driving both have to survive for this to work. And it is and will continue to be a lot of work. The fun part is that most of that work can be done while working with our dogs. Are you up for it?