Table of Contents
The Bigger Picture
Featured Inuit Dog Owner:
On Thin Ice
Of Dogs and Men
Poem: Brave Little Heart
Fan Hitch Contributor Receives Writing Award
The Thule 2000
In My Humble Opinion:
The Nunavut Quest 2000
Ihe ISDVMA Meeting
|From the Editor...
I would like to share with you the following e-mail correspondence.
It appears here with permission of Terry Miller.
From: Scott & Terry Miller <email@example.com>
To: Susan & Mark Hamilton <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Salute to Ilik!
Hi Mark and Sue,
I'm really just writing to let you know what an exceptional dog we have with Ilik. Our [Alaskan Malamute] Walker, who died a couple years ago, was a great dog--a sled dog extraordinaire. I never thought anyone could fill his paw prints. But [our Inuit Sled Dog] Ilik has raised the bar to a new level. That dog is truly amazing. She is a natural leader who just got better and better as the trip got longer and the stress mounted up. She rose to every occasion with unbounded enthusiasm, taking commands perfectly, single leading when necessary, and always, always, always keeping her line as tight as a steel rod. She is a winner on personality alone, but her work ethic is unsurpassed. I don't think I'll ever have another dog like her.
Thank you for the opportunity to own her and to love her. It gives me chills to watch her work. She is amazing--absolutely amazing. Here's to you, Ilik!
From: Susan & Mark Hamilton <email@example.com>
To: Scott & Terry Miller <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: Salute to Ilik!
Glad to hear you and the dogs are back in Minnesota safe and sound from your Washington and British Columbia adventures.
As you know, Mark and I have been rather critical of the Alaskan Malamute's abilities as a freighting dog, this despite 25 years of owning and breeding with a focus on the working side of the breed as opposed to showing (of which we did a little). Of course there exist some exceptions to our overall impression that the malamute's ability to get the job done in harness slipped rapidly at the point where specimens for reproduction were selected on the basis of markings, eye color and show wins. You are one of these exceptions, and your beloved malamute Walker stood out as a shining example of the fine working qualities generally lost to his kind.
But with your description of Ilik, you have succeeded in touching on several important issues. One is that of the unsurpassable work ethic of the Inuit Sled Dog and its ability to meet challenges and overcome adversities. Another is that you have set an example, showing the way for others seeking fine freighting dogs. Interested mushers now know that their desire for an animal they can depend on through thick and thin can be achieved, with proper handling and training, by owning ISDs. Finally, Paul Landry of Iqaluit, Nunavut states in his interview as the Fan Hitch's Featured Inuit Dog Owner, that the ISD reaches its full potential in the Arctic environment. While we don't dispute this, you have demonstrated beyond any doubt that there surely IS a place for the Inuit Sled Dog south of the tree line for freighting dog mushers who both understand and appreciate the nature of this breed. For all this, Terry, it is I who needs to be thanking YOU, not just for providing Ilik with a great home but also for the way in which you have so aptly described the Inuit Sled Dog and have represented the breed everywhere you go.
All the best,
Sue and Mark
Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads, unless you're driving Inuit Dogs in which case conditions really don't matter!