Table of Contents
Thanks to our Sponsors
Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Tim Socha
Nunavut Quest 2001
Inuit Dogs in New Hampshire, Part I
Uummannaq: A Special Dog Sledge Expedition
Remembrances of a Spent Life: "Chimo"
Dog News from Iqaluit
The Homecoming, Part III
Fan Hitch Wins Writing Contest Recognition
Product Review: Seeing the Light
Media Review: The Last Husky
Tip for the Trail: A Do-it Yourself Alcohol Heater
IMHO: Looking Forward
IMHO: Looking Forward
by Mark Hamilton
My normal inclination is to avoid conflict. That may sound a bit disingenuous coming from a person involved in sales and marketing in a competitive industrial marketplace, but it's true.
This inclination serves me well. I don't start price wars, nor do I respond to a competitor's overtures to engage in one. I concentrate on what the company should be doing, not on what our competitors have done. My focus is on our business. What anyone else is doing is their business. Business is very good, by-the-way.
Is there a down side to this position? Oh yeah! If you're unconscious to what's happening in your marketplace, you get run over. Well, I said my position is to avoid conflict, I didn't say I ignore what is happening around me. As it happens there are a few people in this industry who seem to enjoy making up stories about the company where I work. I can't go to a trade show without hearing some improbable tale, and those I am obliged to correct. Now, it follows that correcting the stories someone is telling about you will likely lead you into conflict, but you must, you have no choice. You can't just trust that third parties (the public) will even see those things that you feel are obvious.
What's all this got to do with the ISDI and our dogs? A lot actually, but I'm not quite ready to go there just yet. Instead consider this. It could well be that almost everything we wanted to accomplish when ISDI was established has now been achieved. We are a highly visible, readily accessible network of Inuit Dog owners and enthusiasts. No longer do we just know of each other. Increasingly, we're actually getting to know each other. Our knowledge of populations of pure ISDs and people interested in pure ISDs has grown beyond what anyone dreamed of just three years ago. The collection of dogs, to form the nucleus of a continuation breeding program, has begun. The ISDI database grows toward becoming a usable tool. Our contacts are now world-wide, expanding our point of reference and giving us a larger sense of community. So now, what are we going to do about all this?
I think one of the next steps is for us to expand our budding relationships with each other. It's time to get as many of us as possible in the same place at the same time. We've been "talking" with each other via letters, e-mail and telephone, now it's time for us to start putting faces with those names and voices. I don't believe we're ready just yet for a big meeting/seminar-type function, but we'd benefit from a "gathering of the clan"-type event. I think we need to take this step now if we're ever going to get to the "big meeting" point. I also think our immediate needs and goals would be better met now by some face-to-face contact, and maybe a few round table discussions, than by a series of lectures by "third party experts".
Which needs and goals should we be talking about? Getting started with helping each other improve the genetic diversity of our individual populations of dogs would be right at the top of my list.
Here's an issue you may not have considered. We've raised the visibility of both the ISD and ourselves over the course of the last few years, but not everyone that's taken notice of us is treating us kindly. Most recently, the owner of the "Everything Husky" web site, Murray Lundberg, either got misled or confused in his research about the ISD's background. He went so far as to state in one Internet discussion group that the dogs could only be guaranteed pure as far back as 1972.
A lengthy message has been sent to that discussion group setting the facts of the dogs' origin straight. In the future, ISDI will continue to act in the role of P.A.O. (Public Affairs Officer) where we become aware of these misconceptions. What we need is to collectively sit and talk about just how potentially damaging to the ISD's future these misinformed statements and people are, and how essential it is that such statements not go unchallenged and uncorrected. In other words, we need a plan that everyone understands and can act upon.
Part of the survival equation for the ISD is the breed's need to be recognized for what it is, a living connection to the Arctic's history, an animal shaped by and refined by centuries of life in that hostile environment. The dogs are currently the subjects of some unsympathetic challenges by various officials in the Arctic. If the general public does not see the ISD's historical significance, that challenge will be just that much more difficult to overcome. The public will not even notice when the dogs are driven into extinction if they don't value their existence.
So, like I asked earlier, what are we going to do about all this?