The Fan Hitch Volume 7, Number 2, March 2005

Journal of the Inuit Sled Dog

Table of Contents

Editorial: Sirius Patrol, Canadian Style
F.I.D.O.: Allen Gordon
Nunavik Dog Slaughters, Part I
Pregnancy, Whelping and Pup Development in the ISD, Part II
Fan Mail
Tip for the Trail: Building a Dog Ramp
In the News
Behavior Notebook
Janice Howls: Transition to Primitive
 IMHO: Change

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Editor: Sue Hamilton
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From the Editor.....

Sirius Patrol, Canadian Style

Thinking back to the December issue of The Fan Hitch, I can't get the concept of the Sirius Patrol out of my head. And what keeps rattling around in there is that this world-renowned program could serve as a model for a similar one in arctic Canada. It's not as if Nunavut, Nunavik and/or the Northwest Territories would have to reinvent the wheel (or qamutiq in this case). The model is already there, tried and true.  As December F.F.I.D.O.  Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen said, "…in practice, the SIRIUS concept has remained almost unchanged throughout the fifty years of its existence, simply because it has achieved a near-perfect way of carrying out its tasks - two members, eleven dogs and a sled loaded with exactly what is needed to survive an arctic winter. This is low-tech, relatively inexpensive, and as safe as it can be." Okay, so the geography of the two countries doesn't exactly correspond. But Canada already has its famous "Rangers", trained in arctic survival, search and rescue - a good start.

So why couldn't there be a central breeding facility and patrol headquarters in Canada somewhere north of the 55° parallel (Nunavik's southern border)?  Living there already are some very fine and savvy dog men who could oversee the breeding program at the home base and serve as dog handling instructors as well as being some of the Rangers on patrol. The dogs would certainly be used in a manner consistent with their original purpose in order to prove their working and breeding worth. What pride would be engendered within the territories and hamlets therein! And most of all, a future would be secured for the Canadian Inuit Dog in the North. Seems like a win-win situation all round.

There are enough National and Territorial Parks and wildlife areas and sanctuaries to patrol - humans visitors to monitor and rescue, animals to count and populations to document and research - all valuable and necessary activities. There must be good reasons why the Danish military still feels strongly that covering vast arctic regions are best done by dog team instead of by snow machine or airplane. Why couldn't these apply to the Canadian north as well?

Now if there is only a means and a way to open up the minds of the people who are in a position to take this suggestion seriously. It would be wonderful if a jackhammer wasn't needed to do it. 

Wishing you smooth ice and narrow leads, 



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