The Fan Hitch Volume 3, Number 4, August 2001

Official Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog International

Table of Contents

Guest Editorial
Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Dr. Lucien Ockovsky
The First Official ISDI Gathering
Nunavut Quest 2001 Diary
The Song of the Glacier
An Arctic "Fish Story"
Defining ISD Purity
Distemper in the North
Brucellosis in Arctic Marine Mammals: A threat to team dogs?
Poem: But, I must be dreaming, that's years ago...
Book Review: the latest Coppinger book
Janice Howls: Who Belongs in the ISDI?
Page from a Behaviour Notebook: Inuit Dog Stereotypes
Frankly Speaking: Zombies

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Editor-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

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The Inuit Sled Dog International

The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0;
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791,
Guest Editorial.......

                                                                                      Mearns photo

Just Plain Happy

Puggiq has been with us here down in the South for five years, although it really doesn't seem that long. The time has gone by so quickly it could just as easily have been yesterday that we brought him, Tiriginiaq, and Amaruq down from Pond Inlet. Recently, while reviewing those years, it occurred to me that I had no recollection of ever seeing him in any mood other than happy. He's happy to get out to play, happy to go somewhere, happy to work, happy to be fed, happy to be groomed, happy to share your company. Basically, Puggiq is just plain happy.

While Goofy has only been with us for a few months, he too seems to have the same happy outlook on life as Puggiq. He's happy to hang around with us, happy to chase a kicked Jolly Ball, happy to be boss-dog in his new pack, and happy to respond to Tunaq's juvenile challenges. He's happy enough to be at home with his new surroundings. Like Puggiq, Goofy's basic nature is to be just plain happy.

I think it's time for me to take a lesson from my dogs and be just plain happy too, and the recent ISDI Gathering in Ely provided adequate reason. More people attended than we had hoped or planned for when we first committed to giving the event a try. A few of our attendees even traveled some pretty impressive distances to get to Ely. Collectively the group's travel experiences can only be summed up with the phrase, "Trains, Planes and Automobiles" (by the way, I loved that movie).

It was a terrific group of people in attendance in Ely. I'm happy about that as well. Our hosts Susan and Paul Schurke made an enormous effort to provide a facility and an atmosphere where attendees could quickly settle in and be comfortable. Speaking of attendees, as a group we all quickly discovered how much we had in common. It's always good to learn you're not alone, and the Gathering demonstrated that for all of us. Clearly, I can be happy about that as well.

I can't possibly express how happy I am to have had a faithful band of "volunteers" who found their way to the kitchen every time they saw me heading that way. Whether from a sense of duty or just a strong instinct for self-preservation, they were there for me. Everyone got fed and nobody got food poisoning. That sounds like a total success to me. So here, publicly, let me say "Thank You" to Flo, Barry, Jan, Marcus, Nancy, Kathryn and Syl.

The programs, round tables and presentations were great. Whether falling off "the face of the earth" when Sylvia Feeder's video took us down the steep side of a sand dune, a “show and tell” by  Geneviève Montcombroux with the dogs in Paul's kennel or training techniques with Scott and Terry Miller, there was a lot of material presented and lots to learn. Denise Martin gave us a timely and personal perspective into the issues of ISD ownership in the North. During the open discussions, participants expressed their personal commitment to help preserve the ISD as a true working sled dog. It's real easy to be happy about all of that. Then there is the matter of Saturday evening's presentations, first the Thunder Bay Outward Bound program, followed by Paul Schurke's arctic travels. Immediately after these, when everyone thought the weekend couldn't get any better, huge and delicious hors d'oeuvre platters appeared in the kitchen courtesy of Red Paw Dog Food's Eric Morris.

Yup, I think all that is more than enough reason to be just plain happy for a while. Can you see the smile on my face?

Mark Hamilton

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