From the Editor: Chronology
In the News: An interview with Joelie Sanguya
The Arctic Domus Project
The Practice of Veterinary Medicine and Loving Kindness in Labrador
Canadian/Greenland Inuit dogs and the “domestication syndrome”
Ptarmigan Hunting with Greenland Dogs
Documentary Film on the Sirius Patrol
Book Review: A Trapper in North-East Greenland
Index: Volume 16, The Fan Hitch
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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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Photo: Julie Ducrocq, DVM
by Mark Hamilton
One of the ways we learn is by simply attempting to do something without any instruction or help. If (or should I say, when) our attempt fails we then try something different. Next we may try a variation of what we previously had tried. Or, on some occasions, we try a whole different approach; generally this is due in part to how spectacularly our previous attempt failed. This is called trial and error learning and we aren’t the only species to utilize this approach. Personally, I take no particular discomfort from that last observation.
Once we succeed in this effort we seek to achieve more successes. We extrapolate on what we’ve learned and use our new “knowledge” in different but similar circumstances. On occasion we even begin to develop some skills in that area.
I believe we ascribe extra value to knowledge we develop for ourselves. We prize this knowledge and refer to it as a primary source whenever and wherever we can in future problem-solving situations. It’s included in our pool of “go-to” knowledge. When we don’t know, when we can’t find our way, it’s there for us.
Sometimes we just don’t know where we are while on other occasions we do. When in familiar territory, walking on “well-trod ground,” we’re likely to know how far it is and how long it will take to get almost any place. On the other hand, when we’re someplace we’ve never been before we might only know how long it might take to re-trace our steps back to where we started, assuming that option’s available.
A while back Sue and I made what we knew was a very major decision for us, that our current group of dogs would be our last group of dogs. It was anything but an easy decision then and it hasn’t been an easy stay with it since. The last time we didn’t have at least one dog was back in 1970. Talk about not knowing where you are or what to do next, that was 44 years ago! I’m not willing to tell you what percentage of either of our lifetimes 44 years represents but it’s a lot. We have zero recent experience in being without dogs and we now have fewer dogs than when we made that fateful decision. And honestly, we can’t even tell you if we’re following an unknown path into something new or standing at the edge of an abyss! We’ll let you know once we figure that part out.