The Fan Hitch Volume 5, Number 1, December 2002

Newsletter of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: Hoof Beats and Zebras
Featured Inuit Dog Owner: Merv Ehrich
Jubilee Medal Awarded to ISDI Co-Founder
Blue Eyes in Norwegian Greenland Dogs
ISD Enthusiasts Speak out on Blues Eyes
ISDI's Official Stand on Blue Eyes
Mountie, Alouette and Moose
Following Nanuk's Tracks
The Qitdlarssuaq Chronicles, Part 1
News Briefs:
New ISDI Scandinavia Web Site
Atanarjuat Update
Dog Teams in Iqaluit
Grammar Lesson
ISDs in Museum Exhibit
Poem: Lost Travellers
Book Review: first Nations.... first Dogs
ISD Enthusiast's First Novel Published
IMHO: Seeking to Answer the Wrong Question

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-in-Chief: Sue Hamilton
Webmaster: Mark Hamilton
Print Edition: Imaged and distributed by the IPL students of the Ulluriaq School, Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik
The Fan Hitch, Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog International, is published four times a year. It is available at no cost online at:

Print subscriptions: in Canada $20.00, in USA $23.00, elsewhere $32.00 per year, postage included. All prices are in Canadian dollars. Make checks payable in Canadian dollars only to "Mark Brazeau", and send to Mark Brazeau, Box 151 Kangiqsualujjuaq QC J0M 1N0 Canada. (Back issues are also available. Contact Sue Hamilton.)

The Fan Hitch
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The Inuit Sled Dog International

The Inuit Sled Dog International (ISDI) is a consortium of enthusiasts whose goal is the preservation of this ancient arctic breed in its purest form as a working dog. The ISDI's efforts are concentrated on restoring the pure Inuit Dog to its native habitat. The ISDI's coordinators welcome to your comments and questions.

ISDI Coordinator Canada:
Geneviève Montcombroux, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0;
ISDI Coordinator USA:
Sue Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791,
ISD Enthusiast Publishes First Novel

Scott Miller of Hinckley, Minnesota, USA has just published his first novel, 
Signs of Winning

F.H. So, are you a musher?
S.M. My wife Terry and I have eighteen dogs: one Alaskan Malamute, two Alaskan Huskies and fifteen Inuit Sled Dogs. The main dogs get run over a thousand miles a season.

F.H. Is Signs of Winning about ISDs then?
S.M. No, the protagonist starts with Malamutes and ends up with Alaskans. She gets into mid-distance racing and looses sight of everything except winning. There's a fair amount of racing and training and running dogs in it, but it's mostly about the relationships between the characters and how they handle the situations they find themselves in.

F.H. How much of the story is based on things that have actually happened to you?
S.M. Most of the things that are painful have happened to me or my wife. A lot of the embarrassing things have actually happened to us too. The part with the black lab at the finish line really did happen except it was a Malamute during a training run. I was so proud of them I had to include it in the book.

F.H. Have you written other books?
S.M. I'm currently putting the finishing touches on two other young adult novels. One is about a young boy who finds an ISD that belongs to a neighbor that has a reputation for mistreating dogs. His parents say he has to take her back but he's afraid of what will happen to her if he does. The other book is about a young girl whose family comes into possession of a pair of wolf puppies and the problems that arise. I'm also kicking around an idea of a young adult who runs a big race like Race to the Sky. I haven't decided how they get into the race or if they might race ISDs. I have a couple of other books I'm working on but they have nothing to do with canids.

F.H. What made you decide to write a book?
S.M. Oh, I went through a poetry phase and a short story phase. I've written a lot of songs even though I'm a horrible singer and only a slightly better guitar player. But ever since college I've wanted to write a novel. I have about five half finished novels stuffed away somewhere. 

F.H. Why were you able to finally finish one?
S.M. I gave up trying to write the great American novel. I think writing for young adults allowed me to tell a story without having to worry about whether or not a college professor would find universal truths and lasting value in it. Kids just want to have fun reading.

Signs of Winning 

by Scott Miller

reviewed by Tina Portman

Signs of Winning is story about dogsleds, huskies, tuglines, ice hooks and dog booties. But mainly it's a story about thirteen-year-old Kaitlin, a deaf girl with a passion for dogs.

As I think back to my childhood and my shocking capacity for stubbornness and clumsy manipulation, I think Miller has succeeded wonderfully at making Kaitlin real. Kaitlin is not an angel, yet she's thoroughly likable. She's not a disabled wallflower, yet she doesn't always win. Kaitlin's spunk, and humor ("I saw Joe Workman. He was doing the deaf cheer and as near as I could tell asking for ice cream."), make Signs of Winning an entertaining read.

In Signs of Winning, Kaitlin struggles to define what makes her a winner and what makes her a loser. That's not easy for a deaf girl in a hearing world, or for a child who feels cheated by her mother's death and resents her father's detachment. 

Kaitlin is thrown more challenges in the story, but she also gains some friends. George, who knows sign language, helps Kaitlin train her young sled dogs. Her new best friend Sarah, is deaf and (as she says) erudite, and wants to get multiple body piercings and a tattoo of a dove and an olive branch on her ankle. 

Kaitlin is an aspiring sled dog racer. In the story, she progresses from the three-mile Snowflake Days race with her two Alaskan malamutes to the 150-mile Moccasin Run with her newly trained team of six Alaskan huskies. It's through sled dog racing, with help from her friends and family, that Kaitlin learns that being a winner isn't about crossing the finish line first.

Signs of Winning is a good story. It doesn't just zoom to the finish, it lures with twists and turns. In the end, it's a winner.

Signs of Winning; 192 pages paperback, for ages 12 and up, ISBN 0-9681675-5-1, US $9.00 plus shipping, Cdn $12.00 plus shipping from Whippoorwill Press, Box 206, Inwood, MB R0C 1P0 Canada, also available at and Barnes&Noble.

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