On breaking camp and returning to my cabin I noticed tracks
in overnight snow, evidence of a lone wolf passing while we
slept. A passing pack would be less likely to go unnoticed
and make me somewhat twitchy. Waiting for violent storms to
abate in my tent on sea ice can be a little anxious too. The
thought of ice breaking up underneath me while I sleep is
only surpassed with the vision of a pitiless crushing white
blow punching through my tent. No-body survives a polar bear
attack so the thought of being emptied onto ice is never a
The dogs' finer sensory perception gives them a different
world of understanding and emotion to mine, or yours. In poor
light a dog's eyes are able to trace and expose minute movement.
Their noses have a fifteen times greater area for smelling
than a human's. On top of it all their hearing is nearly five
times greater than our own.
Pingo and his henchman brother Hansel are demon fighters
and smart with it. They buy me time to de-fuse life threatening
wildlife confrontations. They shadow me like bodyguards. Curled
close, sniffing, watching and prepared they anticipate trouble.
Pingo and Hansel were obviously just not bothered last night.
Despite dogs receiving free rabies immunization
every year reports of rabid wolves hassling dogs in Arctic
communities are normal and I think of the reported killings
in Inuvik this year.