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IMHO: Save the... (fill in the blank)
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The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at: http://thefanhitch.org.
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Credit: Corel Dogsledding
Save the _____ (fill in the blank)
by Mark Hamilton
Have you ever done a web search on the words "save the"? The last time I did I got more than six million hits. From the tiger to the internet, or the sea turtle, or even waves off the beaches, the world seems to be filled with causes and people who want to save something.
Some of the things people want to save seem pretty understandable to me. Save the family sounds like a reasonable goal. But I find it odd that I can find "Save the family," Save the mom," and "Save the children" but not "Save the father," and I must confess that I've never really warmed to the plight of the snail darter. Somebody, please save me from these people that feel compelled to "save" something.
I wonder if some of these people just have a pre-disposition to want to save things. If so it would be nice for one of them to explain to me how saving used styrofoam cups would be any different from trying to save dolphins? I would like to understand the basis upon which they choose what they want to save.
Over the nearly fourteen years we've been publishing The Fan Hitch there have been individuals and groups popping up to announce their interest/desire/plans to save the ISD. Actually this has been going on ever since the genuine concern of Carpenter and McGrath and their Eskimo Dog Recovery Project. Others continued ever since, keeping the same moniker for the dog, but mostly for a different motivation. They always seem to be very concerned with what the dogs look like and not so much with what the dogs are supposed to be. Of course what the dogs are is exactly what matters most from our perspective – a primitive, aboriginal landrace of the family canidae.
Maybe it would be helpful for me to end this by doing a short Q & A with myself:
Q. Would you like to see the Inuit Dog saved?
A. Most assuredly I want to see the traditional Inuit Dog continue. The cultured pet or show dogs I have no feelings for one way or the other. So long as no one mistakes or misrepresents one for the other I'm ok.
Q. Do you believe the traditional Inuit Dog can be saved?
A. Believe? I wouldn't use that word. But I do think it's possible for the traditional Inuit Dog to be preserved.
Q. So, how do people go about "saving" the traditional Inuit Dog?
A. If by people you're referring to average folks living in a non-polar environment the way I do the answer is: we can't. Bill Carpenter answered this best and in fewer words than I can when he said, "The future of the Inuit Dog depends upon it having a place in the North." It's just that simple, if it can't be part of the lifestyle of people living the in North, it can't be.
Having the last living remnants of a species in a zoo is not considered preservation. Only when animals are returned to their native habitat can we hope for that species to establish itself and be preserved. And so it is with the traditional Inuit Dog. This is the reason why the cultured breed variant down south doesn't concern me much one way or the other.
Q. How will we know when the traditional Inuit Dog has been "saved"?
A. If you see Inuit and other northerners using the dogs for traditional uses and in the traditional way, then I guess we can assume they are being preserved. But don't confuse preservation with saved. The traditional Inuit Dog is a living organism, saved is too permanent a word to be appropriate.