Table of Contents
Why We Got into Inuit Dogs
Know the Dog, the Land and its People
Confessions of a Malamute Breeder
Giving Credit Where it is Due
Poem: Lost and Found
IMHO: El Nino, et al.
In My Humble Opinion — El Nino, et al.
by Mark Hamilton
Cursing the New England weather doesn't accomplish much of anything. I'm aware of that. Having made that admission, I am obliged to admit that this past winter has had an exceptional volume and variety of epithets laid on it by yours truly. I mean, it got cold early, and right after we started running the dogs we were encrusted in ice for about two months. Just before Christmas we got a snow cover that lasted until, oh, say mid-January. Then it warmed up and iced over again. At that point we were driving two and a half hours north just to get to a location where we could use our sleds until early February. Then that snow cover disappeared as well.
Now, before the end of March, I've plugged in the bug zapper (got some customers right away too). We’ve also got a real erosion problem in theback yard because all that grass was destroyed by the Inuit Dogs last year and the melting ice run-off and the rain are sweeping the bare soil down and out of the yard. On the other hand Sue and I put the top down on that old rat of a British car we have and went out for a ride over the weekend (both days). And the lilac bush in the back yard is leafing out. We've put away most of the winter clothing as well.
Well, unless you want to join the dinosaurs, you've got to adapt. So a spring/summer chores list has been created. The short sleeve clothing is in more accessible locations, windows are washed, shade cloth goes up over the kennel and in a fit of early enthusiasm you go out and find out if the %#@*# lawn mower is going to start.
"All true, and perhaps even interesting," your thinking, "but notparticularly doggy. Sure, spring means heartworm season, getting thedog’s tested and on preventative, but where are this guy's thoughts going?"
Actually, to that old British car. First some quick admissions: It's really more like four cars, not one, all salvaged. It wasn't expensive to build because it isn’t a show car and Triumph never built a car like the one we have. It's sort of like an American Street Rod built with British parts (mostly). But it entitles me to belong to the Vintage Triumph Registry if I chose as well as other sports car clubs, British car clubs and antique car clubs, again if I chose. Because it's modified, it's even welcome at street rodder "cruise nights".
Stay with me now because that brings me back to our Inuit Dogs. This past winter we ran by ourselves, with people with Alaskan Malamutes (we'd bring a "token" Malamute to those events) and with some people with Alaskan Huskies. Over this same lousy winter many of the people with pups from our litters ran in a huge variety of circumstances and locations, some racing, some high mileage dogs, endurance runs, and collectively lots of fun runs. Wherever these dogs went, people with other northern breeds were interested and ultimately glad to have seen them. Many commented on what nice dogs they were and marveled at their strength and endurance. See the connection yet? These were people with other "northern" breeds, but who shared the commonality of dedication to northern dogs and/or dog sledding. We all shared something in common and, given the right circumstances, felt that common bond.
Inuit Dog is a broad term, like British Car Club. A Greenland Husky qualifies as an Inuit Dog even if your personal belief structure tells you it is, or should be, separate and apart from the Canadian dogs. The same is true of the Canadian Eskimo Dog. What we all share are dogs with a history that goes back some 4000 years, native, aboriginal dogs of the north, whose roots are in hard work in a hostile environment and whose future, to quote John McGrath, "lies in the people of the north."
So enjoy your dogs, deal with the weather and let’s look forward to our next running season. See you on the trail.