From the Editor
Sled Dogs in His Majesty's Service:
Clark's Eskimo Dogs in World War II
Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs:
The Broken Covenant of the Wild, Part 3
British Antarctic Survey Sledge Dog
Monument Final Report
Tusaalanga: Learning Inuktitut Online!
In the News
Book Review: The Inuit Thought of It
Tip: Removing Mats
IMHO: The Learning Curve
Index: Volume 11, The Fan Hitch
With this issue, The Fan Hitch celebrates the completion of its eleventh year in publication. It has only been in recent times, however, that we’ve been creating "enhancements" to the journal's website: a listing of articles by subject matter, an internal search engine, a rich collection of resources, a link allowing visitors easy access for giving us feedback, and even a direct link to purchase information for Ken MacRury's ageless publication, The Inuit Dog: Its Provenance, Environment and History. This month we've added some more goodies. Go to our home page and click on "T.F.H. in Print". We're offering, at no charge, PDF versions of articles we think you might like to download and print. These are in the same format as our print subscriptions of The Fan Hitch and we hope that these articles may encourage even those of you who are used to reading our journal online to consider purchasing a print subscription as well. Don't forget, we donate all subscription fees to Qimmiit Utirtut. There is one caveat to downloading these articles. Although we've done our best to minimize their electronic size, these are still hefty files. We've included the size so you can be the judge as to whether or not you have the patience, the connection speed and the computer to download them. Actually there is more than one caveat. The articles (actually every bit – text and images – of every issue of The Fan Hitch) are protected by copyright laws, and are to be used for your own education and enjoyment and are not to be reproduced in any form for any purpose, without our written consent.
This issue is special for more than just marking eleven years. In Part 3 of "Evolutionary Changes in Domesticated Dogs: The Broken Covenant of the Wild", Vladimir Beregovoy talks about how "show-pet" dogs have strayed far from their cultured or aboriginal working dog roots. Those of you who, having read some of my previous submissions to The Fan Hitch, know that I have been not at all shy about using the Alaskan Malamute (the breed my husband and I had bred and used in harness for three decades) as the "poster child" for what will happen (is happening in the show ring and pet home both in Canada - the Canadian Kennel Club "Canadian Eskimo Dog", and Europe - the Fédération Cynologique Internationale "Greenland Dog") to the Inuit Sled Dog if it slips into the hands of those who cannot appreciate, respect and honor its 4000-year history. It is enormously comforting to have a person of Dr. Beregovoy's stature express the same sentiments on behalf of this and indeed all primitive aboriginal breeds. Inuit are not the only aboriginal people facing enormous pressure regarding the future of their dogs, an integral part of their cultural heritage.
More than four years ago, when I did a review of Soldiers & Sled Dogs: A History of Military Dog Mushing by Charles L. Dean, I expressed hope that the author might someday consider a second edition that would include information on the Inuit Sled Dog's wartime role, a story noteably absent in the book's first printing. While Chuck is not quite up to a second printing…yet…he has been studiously doing his homework and has graciously offered some of what he has uncovered about the role Inuit Dogs played in WWII. Chuck and I both hope that by reading his article on the use of Inuit Dogs by the British Army, readers may be stimulated to submit their recollections of military mushing, or put Chuck onto acquaintances who do have information to share. If you haven't yet read Soldiers and Sled Dogs, I suggest you give this great read a look. Brisk sales and forwarding to Chuck stories about wartime sled dogs will encourage him to publish even more!
And speaking of the British use of Inuit Dogs, this issue is especially bittersweet for me, as it marks the conclusion of a nearly three year long "sledge journey" that I have had the honor and privilege to share with a bunch of fine, fine gentlemen. Back in our December 2006 issue, Hwfa Jones told readers about his book, The Doggy Men which he wrote to help kick start the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Husky Memorial Fund. In every issue of The Fan Hitch since then, we provided updates on the status of the fund drive along with vignettes of life in Antarctica with the BAS huskies. Well, this issue announces the triumphant completion of the drive with the placement of the dramatic full size bronze statue in front of BAS headquarters. All Inuit Dog enthusiasts owe these brave men and their fine dogs a huge debt of gratitude. Considerable science has come from the study of these hard working dogs (see our new downloads page) and we have all enjoyed in The Fan Hitch and elsewhere so many wonderful stories and books about the golden age of British Antarctic exploration by Inuit Dog team. Let's keep these doggy men and their dogs in our hearts and minds and hope that, although the journey to the memorial is at an end, we may continue to enjoy even more stories about that era.
Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads,