The Fan Hitch Volume 6, Number 4, September 2004

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: Looking for Inuit Dogs Past and Present
F.I.D.O.: Jan Erik and Barbro  Engebretsen
First Camping Adventure with Greenland Dogs
The Breeding and Maintenance of Sledge Dogs, Part II
A Cut Above the Rest
In the News
Book Reviews:
Hunting Laika Breeds of Russia
Primitive Breeds - Perfect Dogs
 IMHO: Waiting for Godot?
Index to Volume 6

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Index of back issues by volume number

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Ordering Ken MacRury's Thesis

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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.

"...when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again."
William Beebe, 1877-1962, American ornithologist,  explorer, author

Pups resting on the tundra outside Iqaluit, Nunavut           Han photo


Waiting for Godot?

by Mark Hamilton

Maybe one of the worst feelings in the world is sitting and waiting for the inevitable to happen. It's like those couple of moments between when the dentist picks up the syringe and when they finally stick the needle into the back of your jaw  (and out the back of your head). You know it's coming. You already know what it will feel like, and there is nothing for you to do except wait. You won't be convincing the dentist of the sincerity of your offer to undergo the procedure without an anesthetic. You're trapped in that chair, surrounded by a dentist, a dental assistant and all that equipment. Expect the use of social pressure if you refuse to go along quietly.

Anticipation of something good and desirable is no better. Set a date for taking a vacation. Suddenly everything between you and that date passes by in agonizing, slow motion (any of you who suffer from "packing angst" can relax, we're not going there). As kids it seemed as if the day would never arrive. As adults it more like wondering if you can survive everything that needs to get done before your vacation time arrives. How many have heard the words, "Hey, your vacation starts tomorrow. Before you leave today can you.........?"

There is an issue of inevitability for the Inuit Dog. Either the breed will survive or it won't. Of course, the dogs themselves have no knowledge or understanding of this situation. Inuit Dog enthusiasts and ISDI members, however, are critically aware of the situation. And we understand only too well what is at stake. I believe I see early indications of the reawakening of desire on the part of Inuit to have and use pure Inuit Sled Dogs that Ken MacRury spoke of in his F.I.D.O. interview. Now the open question is: Can the ISD survive in its traditional environment until it is once again widely valued and preferred? The Arctic will not be like Antarctica. No treaty is going to kick all the dogs out of the North. But will there be any Inuit Sled Dogs there in another twenty years? Wishing and hoping won't ensure the Inuit Dog's survival, and a great plan without an equal effort towards fulfillment won't get it done either. We need to talk about who is going to do what.


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