“See For Yourself”

The ideal dog box:




So Doc Lombard told me when I asked him about ideal dog box size and construction at a race in Bemidji some time in the 1970s.

I had built a two story dog box in 1977, investing the prize money from Yellowknife to build what I thought was the ideal for the constraints. To carry as many dogs comfortably as could fit on a typical pickup truck box. I began to have doubts when I saw other mushers with fewer compartments carrying more dogs.

That cold night in Bemidji I did see two dogs in each of Doc’s compartments comfortably nested together in a 24 inch/60 cm wide space.

In the early years of my mushing travel around North America occasionally at a restaurant or gas station a person standing by would ask, “whatcha got in those boxes, chickens?”

Now almost 40 years later I can truthfully say, Yes!

This box I bought in Fort Resolution has been sitting rotting away beside my driveway for 15 years or twenty.  This week when my laying hens emerged from their house to forage on the newly exposed grass and vegetation one of them would go missing for a night or part of the day. Finally discovered she was laying eggs in the top box in the foto. Since she did not stay with them consistently in that cold weather I figured the eggs were not going to hatch so I took them away. But maybe later in the year…

(Note, ironically, the self-appointed sled dog welfare people in the EuroSoviet jurisdictions, the EUnamity as referred to in Cloud Atlas, a dystopian view of the future too close to some things happening today, according to these authorities the comfortable tandem or dual dog boxes Doc Lombard recommended and used for most of his later career would be illegal.)




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