The Fan Hitch Volume 10, Number 4, September 2008

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

In This Issue....

From the Editor

In the News

Ladies' Ellesmere Vacation

Sled Dog Physiology: Non-Invasive Techniques

BAS Vignette: How Do You Say Good-bye?

Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update

Report: The Chinook Project in Kimmirut

Bannock revisited

Book Review: Land of the Long Day

Behavior Notebook: On Being a Social Facilitator

Tip: Dealing with Those "Dirty" Boots

Index: Volume 10, The Fan Hitch

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

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This site is dedicated to the Inuit Dog as well as related Inuit culture and traditions. It is also home to The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog.
Tip for the Trail….

 Now you see "it"(top), now you don't (bottom).
                                            photo: Hamilton

Dealing with those "Dirty" Boots

by Mark Hamilton

Fall is just arriving here and we're in the process of getting our mushing gear prepped and back into the dog truck. Soon, although not soon enough for us or the dogs, we'll be back on the trails training with our teams.

We share our primary training trails with horseback riders, hikers and cross-country skiers. A significant number of the people from those three groups bring dogs - often unleashed - with them. It's not unusual for us to get back to our truck and find the treads of our shoes packed with fecal matter that lies hidden amongst the dried up brown leaves. As we all already know, that stuff doesn’t scrape out of "waffle stomper" treads particularly easily or thoroughly, and that is a problem. We'd prefer not to get back into the truck wearing those stinking "dirty" boots or to track home potential pathogens and expose our entire kennel to them.

Last year we decided to carry a one-half-gallon (1.9 l) pressure spray bottle in the truck to deal with this problem while we're still away from our property.  We already owned the pressure sprayer for garden use, so we simply re-purposed it as mushing equipment. What we do is fill it with some of the drinking water we carry for the dogs, pump the sprayer up, adjust the nozzle to deliver a solid stream of water and wash our problem away. It's even possible to add an eco-friendly disinfectant to the water as these sprayers are made to deliver water and oil based lawn and garden chemicals. Needless to say, the sprayer can also be used to clean out the treads on your training cart’s tires on occasions when  you’ve been lucky enough to only drive through "it".

Washing off a pair of boots only takes a minute or two and about a half-gallon of water. Tires? That depends on the number and size of the tires.

The one-half-gallon (1.9 l) size doesn't require
very much storage space.        photo: Hamilton
Got a tip you'd like to share? Email it to or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.
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