“Hey Macklemore, can we go thrift shopping?” -Thrift Shop- Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Being new to Portland, every neighborhood is a new adventure for me. Last weekend, I spent a little time in Mt Tabor walking around the interesting little second hand shops and made an incredible discovery. Sled dogs such as Balto have a respected place in history, but did you know that the US military had an entire sled dog program for years?
Check out this incredible photo, dated September 1942, of two members of the US Air Force and a civilian sled dog training. See what they are riding? When there wasn’t snow, they often used old car chassis for training as in this picture.
According to “War Dogs,” author Michael Lemish, at the start of World War II, there were only about 50 military working dogs and they were all sled dogs in Alaska. They were a sought after commodity as far back as the 1890s as US Army troops explored the Alaskan frontier. Originally, long before the Lackland AFB k9 program, all these dogs fell under the care of the US Army Quartermaster.
Obviously, the idea of a man and his dogs traversing the harsh tundra strikes a chord, so much so that even Hasbro’s GI Joe Adventure Team had a sled dog unit which first deployed back in 1969 in their “Fight for Survival” series.
If you’re interested in learning more about these incredible dogs and their mushers, check out “Soldiers and Sled Dogs,” by Charles Dean.
Another fun find while we were popping tags: this little treatsie from Ralston Purina from 1958.
It’s a 4-H guidebook to raising dogs. It has chapters on picking out your pup, choosing between purebred and mixed breed dogs, training, and feeding. While there are a few nuggets in there which still hold true, many sections, especially the training and nutrition sections, are notably outdated.
It also lists the top breeds of the year previous based on registration. It is a lot different from today’s top breeds list. Check it out.