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

Navigating This Site

Index of articles by subject

Index of back issues by volume number

Search The Fan Hitch

Articles to download and print

Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

Our comprehensive list of resources

Talk to The Fan Hitch

The Fan Hitch home page

ISDI home page

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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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.
Product Review….

The Tick Key

by Mark Hamilton

Tick borne diseases such as Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, Babesiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever are significant health hazards for humans and animals. Mushing south of the tree line puts both the musher and the dogs at risk, as ticks are active even during the winter months. Sue and I choose to keep tick removers close at hand; we have one in the medical kit in our dog truck and another at home in the dog pantry just inside our back door.

Our most recently purchased tick remover is a product named The Tick Key, and it has proven to be our favorite. Why is it our favorite? First, it works, and it's really quick and easy to use.  Second, it's durable, made from a single piece of sturdy aluminum, neither flimsy nor breakable as with plastics. Third, it's available in five bright colors: Green, Blue, Orange, Purple and Red. So if you drop it somewhere, it's easier to find.

To remove a tick you simply put the large part of that odd shaped hole in The Tick Key over the area where the tick is attached. You slide the remover toward you while lightly pressing the remover against the skin. The tick slides into the thin slotted area of the hole. Just about the time you start trying to be careful to get the tick all the way to the bottom of the slot you realize that the tick, including its head, has already been detached from the skin. And that's exactly how it went for me the first time I used The Tick Key. The tick was attached to a feral cat that was not especially tolerant of my handling. I was alone with the cat and one of my hands had to be used to restrain the cat. That tick was removed – head and all - on the first try, and I didn't get scratched or bit.

As some of the trails we run are narrow and wind through underbrush where ticks can reside, this fall I began carrying The Tick Key full-time on my person. For security and convenience I mounted it on a fly-fisherman's "retracto" which I clip to the watch pocket on my jeans. The Tick Key hangs inside my right side pocket where it is easily reached. The "retracto" has enough cord length to allow me full arm extension, so my Tick Key is easy to use.

The Tick Key costs $5.00 USD plus $2.50 shipping within the United States. For other countries, contact the company through their website, by email, by phone: 203 228-7923 or by traditional mail at: The Tick Key, 50 Altair Avenue, Plymouth, CT 06782 USA

Is there a useful product you'd like to tell everyone about? Email your experience to or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.
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