The Fan Hitch Volume 10, Number 3, June 2008

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

In This Issue....

From the Editor: The Fan Hitch... Enhanced

F.I.D.O.: Andrew Maher and Julia Landry

Fan Mail

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

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Here's a well worn example, sent to artist David Cemmick
 to help with the sculpture.                               Photo: Jones

Lampwick Harnesses

by Hwfa Jones

We used to get the lampwick, about 1.75 inches (4.5 cm) wide, in big boxes ready to make into harnesses. All early reports seem to say that the double thickness (through being tubular) and slight stretch in the lampwick was by far the best material for harnesses. Single thickness was not suitable or comfortable for the dogs. It took about 12 feet (3.5 m) of lampwick per harness. Different lengths from the body part of the harness  to the 2 inch (5 cm) wide 'D' ring.

When a crevasse opened and a dog fell in, it was usually possible to haul the animal out by the length to the 'D' ring. Dogs usually did not fall out of their harnesses, so the harness was a good safety design.

If dogs did fall and survive, it was possible to rope down to them in the crevasse if it was wide enough. The harness was then re-attached with another piece of lampwick added which was called a 'belly-go-round' for extra security when the dog was being hauled out. Incidentally, dogs would wee on the Fid below as they were pulled up!

I think there was a different type of harness to support the dogs when they were lowered into the dog tunnel for winter quarters 30 feet (9 m) beneath the ice. This design would be known to the Doggy Men (Mike Warden and Graham Wright).

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