In This Issue....From the Editor: The Fan Hitch... Enhanced
F.I.D.O.: Andrew Maher and Julia Landry
In the News
Out on the Ice: Three Days with ISDs in North Greenland
Two Friends, Fourteen Dogs…One Quest!
The Nunavut Quest’s 10th Anniversary Run
BAS Vignette: Lampwick Harnesses
Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update
CAAT’s 2008 Northern Schedule
The Chinook Project Returns to Kimmirut
Product Review Update: Double Driver Sled
IMHO: On Feral Cats and Inuit Sled Dogs
The Fan Hitch…Enhanced
Hardly a quarter of a year (the space between issues of The Fan Hitch) goes by that we don’t receive mail. As an example, check out this issue's Fan Mail. There's a comment/inquiry about an article from our archives, and there's a request for assistance. It's been like this for years. But it has only been since the March issue that we've finally (belatedly) decided that there are changes we ought to make to help our readers. These changes are too long in coming, in part perhaps, because New England, where I live, is known as "the land of steady habits".
These are pretty major as far as changes to The Fan Hitch go. I guess we first decided to break away from our usual format when some important, time-sensitive news arrived less than a week after the March, 2008 issue went online. To ensure readers knew about this important information, we put up a special news break on our journal's front page announcing an April/May Aeroplan frequent flyer miles collection sponsored by the Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) in order to help them meet their travel expenses to their summer 2008 wellness clinics in the Canadian North. We had never done anything like that on our front page and, looking at it for a while, we realized that maybe it was time for a change - not just a new style, but useful enhancements.
Part of the motivation for these new developments is our relatively recent unearthing of just how shockingly broad our audience is. We are absolutely flabbergasted to learn that in just the few short months we have been monitoring, our little journal has been visited over one thousand times (likely a whole lot more), from over forty countries and territories, with nearly two-thirds being new visitors! Given that in nearly ten years we've accumulated a huge collection of articles and information, these new visitors may find it daunting to wander through so much material, especially using the pre-existing annual indices, to learn all that we have to offer.
Another impetus for part of this change came from an ISD enthusiast in The Netherlands. Stijn Heijs actually grouped every, and I do mean every, article starting with the very first issue nearly ten years ago, by topic. Now that’s some dedication! We had been publishing the annual index since Volume 4 (beginning December, 2001) and hot linked each issue starting with Volume 5 (beginning December, 2002), but I have to admit I still did an awful lot of time-consuming hunting around when searching the archives. Thanks to the nudge from Stijn (and his Excel spread sheet), we are delighted to announce that now readers are able to search for articles from every issue of The Fan Hitch by topic. For the most part, these will be the same topics that you have seen buried in the annual indices, with a few extras tossed in, "cooking and crafts" for example. We hope this is a welcome addition. It has already proved very handy to me! Thanks, Stijn, for your help and motivation!
The other major modification is the addition of a "resources page". These are not simply my favorite links (as much as I praise the dog food I use, a link to their website doesn't qualify) and not a matter of simple reciprocity linking (ours for theirs) because as editor of The Fan Hitch, I have endeavored to remain focused on the Inuit Sled Dog and matters that relate in some way – Inuit culture and tradition, for example. Decisions as to what to include were based on this principle, also keeping in mind the nature of inquiries for information we have received over the years and what I believe would be truly useful to an ultimate better understanding and appreciation of the ISD. I would value your input here. If I have overlooked something, please feel free to make a suggestion to be considered for inclusion. Also, I will try to be a "good housekeeper" and periodically check for dead or discontinued links, update site information, add new websites or delete ones that no longer reflect the principles for which they were included in the first place.
Well, I mightily regret not having done all this sooner. Better late than never, I guess.
Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads,