The Fan Hitch Volume 11, Number 1, December 2008

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

In This Issue....

From the Editor: Expeditions

My First Winter Trip in Antarctica

Canadian Animal Assistance Team in Pond Inlet

Sledge Dog Memorial Fund Update

In the News

Book Review:  Dog Days on Ice

Behavior Notebook: Transitions

Product Review: The Tick Key

Tip: Flammable Food

IMHO: The Next Great Thing

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Index of back issues by volume number

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Editor's/Publisher's Statement
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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welcomes your letters, stories, comments and suggestions. The editorial staff reserves the right to edit submissions used for publication.

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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.

Fiddich and me, enjoying a leaf pile.         photo: Hamilton

The Next Great Thing

by Mark Hamilton

My work, prior to retirement, could be described as a continual search for "the next great thing". It was a pretty good job actually, primarily because "the next great thing" could be almost anything. It could be a new use for an existing product or a new market for some existing products, or a new product for an established market, or a new product for a new market. Of course "the next great thing" could also be finding ways of making your products even better, or finding new ways of selling more products to the same users, or reducing your costs, or making more off each sale or……

In any event, that's what I did, and I really enjoyed the process. It left a bit of a hollow place in me right after I retired, but that was quickly filled as I learned about the joys that retirement brings. So, I have no regrets.

There are people who live their every-day lives in search of the next great thing. They move from the home they are in to a "nicer" one, or they trade in the car they have for a "better" one. For those most affected by this lifestyle it seems "survival" is not "living", and life simply isn't worth living without that new 72" plasma screen TV. Oh, I forgot, it needs to be mounted on that new articulated arm wall-mount.

It was long ago that the pursuit of the next great thing found its way into the world of dogs. The all-breed registries, and the breed clubs that affiliate with them, effectively turn the fun of having dogs into an unending quest for the next great thing. Those organizations provide no discernible value or service to the individual dog owner other than a certificate "suitable for framing". However, for those who choose to engage in the dog show and competition events that are these organizations' primary activities, they can quickly find themselves chasing a merry-go-round of expectations based on things like: "my next litter" and "my next champion". Literally, these people can find themselves so "busy with the dogs" that they don't have the time to enjoy the dogs they have.

It also appears to me that even the non-pure breed side of the dog world gets involved in the search for the next great thing. I say that because I have no other way of explaining dogs like the Labradoodle.

But we have Inuit Dogs. Now that the pups from the two pregnant females we brought down from Pond Inlet are twelve years old, I find myself thinking more about those pups and what our involvement with Inuit Dogs has meant. We're not searching for the next great thing with our Inuit Dogs. It would be hubris on our part to even suppose that we could improve upon what four thousand years of evolution and being bred exclusively for work in the arctic has already produced.

No, our task has been simply to avoid screwing up what the Inuit Dog is, and to enjoy what we've got. Life is transitory, so the time to appreciate our dogs is now, to admire what they are and to work to help in their preservation as the traditional working dog of the north. Progress toward that goal is measured by the number of dogs finding their way back into the everyday lives of Inuit living in the Arctic. And remember, many hands make for light work.

Finally, Sue and I want to pass along our holiday greetings to all of you, our readers and friends.
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