The contribution of sled dogs to the advancement of knowledge about Antarctica lasted some ninety-six years, from the first 'Southern Cross' expedition from 1898-1900 (under Carsten Borgevink) to Feb 22nd 1994 when the last dog team was flown out and driven the last 300 miles to an Inuit settlement in Arctic Canada.
Along the way, various dogs and exploits stand out in the hall of fame. Read about some of their stories, here:
Helge & Waypoint Commemoration (Amundsun, 1912 & Byrd 1920's & 30's)
Igloo (Admiral Byrd, 1930's)
Osman and Stareek (Scott, 1909 Expedition)
Togo & Balto, Leonard Seppälä & The Great Serum Race, 1925
Darkie (Fuchs, 1950's)
The Moomins, (Peter Gibbs & Henry Wyatt 1958)
Steve, (Peter Gibbs, 1958)
Taro & Jiro and 'Eight Below' (1958)
Boo Boo (BAS)
Bothie (Ran Fiennes)
Some of the famous dogs of exploration are honoured on the National Geospatial-Inteligence Agency’s aeronautical charts since geographical features on the land mass can only be idd for people. Hence, of the 12 waypoints between Christchurch and McMurdo, each a few hundred miles apart, 6 have ids that honour dogs - Uroa, Mylius, Per, Frithjof, Lasse and Helge – 5 have ids that commemorate ponies Jimmy Pigg, Bones, Nobby, Snippets and Jehu The 12th waypoint – the last one before the Antarctic mainland - is idd Byrd after the American Admiral Richard Byrd who used sled dogs in his various explorations of Antarctica that provided the world with so much knowledge about that continent. At each of these spots, navigators are required to radio air traffic control with time of arrival, position and weather conditions. Helge’s story is particularly poignant. When Amundsen made it to the South Pole with 17 dogs, Helge was weak and she was the only one killed at the South Pole. It inspired me to write a poem about the dogs and her plight." Only 11, including Uroa and Mylius, actually completed the return journey. The others died on the way.
During the five expeditionary trips Admiral Richard Byrd and his party made to the North Pole for the purposes of exploration and map making, he became an international hero, and during his lifetime received numerous awards: 22 citations and special commendations, 9 were for bravery and 2 for extraordinary heroism in saving the lives of others. His explorations accounted for the discovery of hundreds of thousands of square miles of territory which were claimed for the United States. However, Byrd had a noted companion. He was an ordinary Wire Fox Terrier who performed no tricks, heroic deeds, nor appeared in any movies. The animal was a stray found by a friend of famous explorer Rear Admiral Byrd who beseeched him to give the animal a home knowing he loved dogs.
The terrier became his constant companion and accompanied Byrd on his first Antarctic expedition in 1928 where he receive"d the moniker "Igloo" and the nickid "Iggy." The dog had to be specially dressed for the polar blizzards. Igloo was mentioned in books about the expedition as well as frequently the subject of news dispatches. In 1926, he made news when part of the first flight over The North Pole and In 1929, the first flight over the South Pole.
A book entitled simply "Igloo" was published by G.P. Putnam's Sons in 1931 and included numerous illustrations by Diana Thorne highlighting the story of the terrier as he accompanied Byrd on his expeditions. Time Magazine carried an obituary after his death and thousands of letters of condolences were written by children from around the world and given to his owner. Igloo was interred at the pet cemetery in Dedham, Massachusetts. An appropriate marker in the shape of an iceberg marks the spot. On the stone is a bronze plaque emblazoned with this epitaph: "Igloo-He Was More Than A Friend" In Winchester, Virginia in front of the Court house stands a life size bronze statue of Byrd, sculpted by Dr Jay Morton. The Admiral is dressed in arctic garb. His right hand stretches down to pat "Igloo" his loyal terrier.
Frank Debenham, Scott's young geologist, tells some interesting tales of two remarkable dogs, Osman and Stareek, who were strong, old and experienced lead dogs in the Russian postal service. The story of Osman reveals Scott's courage and compassionate character towards dogs. All twelve dogs except Osman the lead dog fell through a crevasse and Osman, strong that he was, valiantly held them while Scott abseiled on a rope. Four were fighting as they swung together and one fell out of his harness to a ledge below. Scott was lowered down to get them all above to safety whereon the saved ones immediately attacked the second team seriously delaying the rescue process - typical opportunist huskies! Osman had been washed overboard from the Terra Nova during the storm that nearly sank the ship a couple of days out of Lyttleton. But Providence be praised, thinking of this episode, he was washed back on deck again! Debenham also recalls the time Osman took charge of a young scratch team and one day did all he possibly could to help Debenham prevent this young team from chasing some penguins and causing mayhem. "Here indeed was a dog of dogs, enduring beyond belief and worthy of a small niche in the temple of canine fame."
Stareek is described as similar to Osman with a fine head and more of an Inuit dog look. Described by Ponting as "gentle as a lamb with a lovable habit of licking his lips and wagging his tail wildly and lying on his back with his tongue out and pawing his face whenever anyone conversed with him." On the southbound depot laying journey across the Ross barrier, Scott decided he was too old for the job and should return North with the first party but they would have to feed him from their own rations if they did not want to put him down to feed the other dogs. He was duly swapped and commenced north but felt this a great slight on his character, so he chewed through his trace and ran south. There was nothing to be done without a radio, so the party continued north back on their tracks. Eighteen days and 200 miles later, Stareek was found lying on the sledge in the morning, having survived at least twenty days with no food and so weak he could barely walk. "That," Debenham wrote, "is a feat that should be preserved in the annals of travel."
Togo, Balto and Seppälä gained world-wide notoriety through the so-called 'Serum run' / 'Great race of Mercy' of 1925. Even today, there are statues commemorating the dogs, mushers and the event itself in places as far apart as New York's Central Park, Japan and Norway.
In essence, the serum run was a 'race against time' by 20 mushers and about 150 sled dogs who were tasked with relaying diphtheria antitoxin to Nome, Alaska, across 1085km of wilderness. At the time, although Nome had already decreased from its peak of 20,000 during the gold rush, it was still the largest town in the NE of Alaska with 2/3 of its settlers of European descent. The dog teams managed the distance in a record-breaking five and a half days and in the process, saved the small city of Nome and its surrounding communities from an incipient epidemic.
Radio was a new medium at the time and the sensational story of the heroes racing through the wilderness proved very popular and resulted in newspaper headlines throughout the USA. Two or three dogs and mushers became household ids, including Balto, the lead sled dog on the final stretch into Nome.
From November to July, Nome was icebound and inaccessible. The main link to the rest of the world from the South, 10 years before the advent of bush pilots, was either by dog sled across the Iditarod trail which crossed c. 1000km, several mountain ranges, the vast Alaska Interior and even a 70km stretch across the shifting ice of the Bering Sea. This normally took 25 days.
There was one doctor and four nurses in Nome and in the summer of 1924, his supply of diphtheria antitoxin expired, but the order he placed did not get through before the port closed. When first one child and then another grew ill and some died, the doctor realized that he was dealing with diphtheria as opposed to the tonsillitis he had first diagnosed. As the death toll rose, a quarantine was put in place, and a request for 1 million units of diphtheria antitoxin was sent out by telegraph. About 10000 people were at risk – 3000 of whom were white natives – and the mortality rate, without vaccine, was expected to be about 100% amongst the natives who had no resistance to such diseases.
In the desperation of the situation, both a dog relay of the best dog mushers, eg, from the renowned mail teams, and aircraft transfers were considered. In February 1924, the first experimental winter aircraft flights had been carried out in Alaska. However, not only were there no suitable aircraft easily available within a reasonable distance, but the longest flight to that date had only been c. 400km in length and the worst conditions attempted had been -23C, at which point so much winter clothing had been needed that the planes became almost unflyable and crash landings were common. The vote went in favour of the dogs and Leonhard Seppala was one of the first mushers briefed because of his speed and racing history and because of the renown of his lead dog, Togo.
The temperatures across the Interior were at 20-year lows due to a high pressure system from the Arctic. A second system was burying the Panhandle, as 40 km / h winds swept snow into 10 foot drifts. The first relay team of 9 dogs led by Blackie, set out at 9pm in -46C. When Shannon (the musher) reached his next point of safety, at 3am, it was -52C. His face was blackened by frostbite and he was suffering from hypothermia but he rested and warmed the serum for only four hours before leaving three dogs behind (all of whom died shortly afterwards) and setting back out on the trail.
The next musher's hands had to have hot water poured over them to get them off the sled's handlebar. By this stage, the crisis had become headline news in the US and was being picked up by the new radio medium and the wisdom of choosing dogs over aircraft was being challenged. The local health authorities decided to add more mushers to Seppala's leg of the relay – the most dangerous part, across Norton Sound - so that there would be no delay for rest. However, attempts to get the news to him by telephone or telegraph to villages that he was passing nearby failed.
One musher, Charlie Evans, relied on his lead dogs to get through ice fog where a river had broken through and was surging over the ice. However, he forgot to protect the groins of his two short-haired mixed breed lead dogs with rabbit skins and both dogs collapsed with frostbite and died en route, leaving him to lead the team himself. Further on still, a new storm started brewing and the teams at that point were running in white-out conditions with gale-force winds. Meanwhile, Seppala had travelled, from Nome, 150km into the oncoming storm. Wind-chill had dropped temperatures to -65C but Seppala pushed onwards, thinking that he had a further 160km to go to get to where it had been communicated that the serum would be waiting for him. Thankfully, he bumped into the team that had unexpectedly carried it North for him and, with news of the worsening epidemic, Seppala decided to brave the storm once more and set out again across the exposed open ice of the Norton Sound. Togo led the team in a straight line through the night, and they arrived at the roadhouse in Isaac's Point on the other side at 8pm. In one day, they had traveled 135 km, averaging 13 km/h. The team rested, and departed at 2am into the full power of the storm.
During that night, the temperature dropped to −40 °C and the wind increased to storm force (at least 105 km/h). The team ran across the ice, which was breaking up beneath them, while following the shoreline. They returned to shore to cross Little McKinley Mountain, climbing 5,000 feet (1,500 m). After descending to the next roadhouse, Seppala passed the serum to Charlie Olsen on February 1 at 3pm.
By that stage, the number of cases had risen to 28 whilst the immediately available serum en route was sufficient to treat 30 people. (A larger shipment was en route but would arrive too late for those already infected.) With the powerful blizzard raging and winds of 80mph (130km/h), an order was put out to stop the relay until the storm passed, reasoning that a delay was better than the risk of losing it all. Messages were left at two places before the lines went dead. The next musher was blown off the trail and suffered severe frostbite in his hands whilst putting blankets on his dogs at -57C. Despite the communication about waiting for the storm to break, however, the next team's musher – Kaasen - waited only three hours before deciding to set out, at night, into a headwind since the storm seemed to be simply growing stronger.
The visibility was reportedly so poor that Kaasen could not see the dogs harnessed closest to the sledge. His lead dog was Balto. His next potential warming point was Solomon, but he was 3km past there before he realized it so he kept going. However, the winds became so severe that his sled flipped over and he almost lost the cylinder containing the serum when it fell off and became buried in the snow. He had to use bare hands to feel for it and got frostbite in the process. Having missed his planned rest stop, he arrived at the next place ahead of schedule and the final team was not, therefore, ready. Since Balto and the other dogs were still moving well, Kaasen pressed on the remaining 40km to Nome. Together, the teams covered the 1,085km in 1271.5 hours in hurricane-force winds and a blizzard.
When the 1.1 million units in the second shipment finally reached the roadhead, there was another attempt to send a portion of it by plane but it failed. A second relay set out, including many of the same drivers – all of whom received letters of commendation from President Coolidge, $25 and a gold medal. Kaasen and his team became celebrities and toured the West coast. A 30-minute film entitled Balto's Race to Nome was made and statues to Balto were unveiled in Central Park, commemorating the dogs' Endurance, Fidelity and Intelligence.
However, many mushers considered, instead, Seppala and Togo to be the true heroes since they covered the longest (146km) and most hazardous leg – almost twice the distance of any other team, having already run 270km to receive the hand-off (i.e. 420km in total). Kaasen and Balto, by comparison, had run a total of 85km. Seppala tried to redress the balance of understanding and also took Togo and his team on tour, during which, Amundsen awarded Togo a gold medal. Togo went into retirement in a kennel owned by a friend of Seppala. Most of the other dogs from the team were sold to a kennel in Maine and many huskies in the US can trace their line back to these dogs.
Unfortunately, Balto and the other dogs in his team became part of a sideshow and lived in horrible conditions for a long time until they were rescued by someone called George Kimble and a fundraising campaign by the children of Cleveland, Ohio. None of the other mushers received the same degree of attention, though Wild Bill Shannon briefly toured with Blackie. The media largely ignored the Athabaskan and Alaska Native mushers, who covered two-thirds of the distance to Nome and they, too, saw their efforts as an everyday occurrence. Balto, the jet-black husky, widely known for his heroic run to deliver the vital Diphtheria serum to Nome in 1925 (of which the Iditarod Trail is based on) was named after the Sami explorer Samuel Balto.
The fact that the event captured people's imagination worldwide can be seen from the statues that have been erected as far away as Japan. It is also commemorated close to our home in Arctic Sweden and Norway: first in the small village of Skibotn, 220km away, en route to our property in the Lyngen Alps. This is where Seppalla's family came from. The second statue is in the even smaller and remote village of Pajala, about 180km south of us.
In the US, the publicity helped spur an inoculation campaign that dramatically reduced the threat of the disease. As aviation improved, dog teams were used increasingly rarely for mail deliveries and by the 1960s, with the advent of snowmobiles, they were phased out almost completely. However, the sport was revitalized in the 1970s when the commemorative Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race was inaugurated – a 1600km race from Anchorage to Nome. Seppala was an honorary musher for the first seven races and other serum run participants were also honoured. Each year, the Leonhard Seppala Humanitarian Award is given to the musher who provides the best dog care while still remaining competitive, and the Leonhard Seppala Heritage Grant is an Iditarod scholarship. The two races follow the same route from Ruby to Nome.
Fame is fleeting and sometimes cruel -- even for a canine hero such as this sled dog.
You might already know the story of Balto, hero of the so-called "serum run." His statue stands in New York City's Central Park with the inscription:
"Dedicated to the indomitable spirit of the sled dogs that relayed antitoxin six hundred miles over rough ice across treacherous waters through arctic blizzards from Nenana to the relief of stricken Nome in the winter of 1925. Endurance. Fidelity. Intelligence."
But Balto was not an undisputed hero, and the main person who disputed his rightful place on that monument was his owner, Leonhard Seppala. Seppala (probably rightfully) believed his other dog, Togo, should have been the one hailed as a hero. He made no secret that he resented Balto's undeserved fame, and he tried unsuccessfully to have Togo recognized in his stead. So when a movie offer for Balto and his musher, Gunnar Kassan, came from Hollywood, Seppala gave his blessing, thinking Togo would finally take his place as the local hero. Instead, more attention was focused on the local dog made good, now sleeping in his own Hollywood hotel suite and living the life of a star. After the movie, Kassan and his team toured the lower 48 with a vaudeville act for nine months, attracting huge crowds wherever they went. Realizing his strategic mistake, Seppala set sail for the United States with Togo and his own team. He made many appearances, including one at Madison Square Garden, but still, it was clear the public considered Togo an also-ran compared to Balto. The ultimate slight came when Balto's statue was unveiled in Central Park.
That's when Seppala did something he shouldn't have. Balto, after all, was his dog. And Kassan worked under Seppala. All he had to do was order Kassan back to work in Alaska. At the time, Kassan, Balto and six other dogs were still touring the country with the vaudeville act. Kassan had no choice but to return to Nome, and without means to pay for passage of the dogs, he left them in the hands of the tour promoter. Without their musher, and no one to drive them, the dogs lost their appeal. The tour promoter sold them to a "dime-a-look" sideshow in Los Angeles. There the dogs were housed in a dim back room with only one tiny window, hooked to the sled and ganglines with nowhere to go. They languished for months without exercise or human companionship, while patrons paid a dime to see the dogs once hailed a heroes.
It was in this wretched condition that a touring businessman named George Kimble recognized them. He was appalled at their deplorable condition and offered to buy the dogs right then, but the owner wanted $2,000. Kimble was given two weeks to raise the cash.
Fortunately, Kimble had newspaper contacts back in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The Cleveland Plain Dealer made the dogs' plight the talk of Cleveland, and a city-wide campaign began to raise the money. The local kennel club donated a generous amount. Hotels, shops and factories passed the plate. Mothers emptied their cookie jars. School children sent in their milk money. In only 10 days the money was raised!
Now Balto and friends (Fox, Sye, Billy, Tillie, Moctoc and Alaska Slim) were fed, spruced up and put on a train to Cleveland. On March 19, 1927, they made their entrance to Cleveland proudly pulling their sled on wheels with a band playing and thousands cheering. Their new home was a a large semi-circular enclosure at the Brookside Zoo --perhaps not what we would consider ideal housing for dogs these days, but a huge step up from their museum home, and probably even pretty nice compared to their Alaskan kennel. During those first weeks thousands of visitors came to see them.
They would live out their remaining days at the zoo. Balto died in 1933. He was blind, partially deaf and ailing. His age at death was a matter of dispute; newspapers reported he was 11, but some other sources said he was 14. A year later, the last surviving member, Sye, died at age 17.
Balto's body was preserved and displayed at Cleveland's Natural History Museum. Whether he was the hero of the serum run may be controversial; but the fact is that every musher and dog who braved the bitter elements and raced to save a town was a true hero.
Fuchs was the leader of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition which first crossed Antarctica between 1955 and 58. This expedition set out from Vahsel Bay, following a route which avoided the Beardmore Glacier altogether, and bypassed much of the Ross Ice Shelf, reaching McMurdo Sound via a descent of the Skelton Glacier. The entire journey took 98 days travelling 2158 miles, by Sno-Cat tractors, via the South Pole. The existence of a landmass beneath the ice was established as part of the scientific endeavour of this expedition.
Fuchs had spent a great deal of his life in Antarctica and had carried out major journeys with his lead dog Darkie, a Labrador-looking dog, during an enforced three years at Stonington at the beginning of FIDS and BAS. His input led to a more planned and partnership-based future with huskies for the next fifty years. Describing Darkie's leading technique when crossing a bridged crevasse, "He advanced cautiously in the fashion of a heraldic lion each paw extended as far as possible to test the surface in front of him. In this way he found every crevasse and successfully crossed the majority." He didn't say what happened on the occasions he didn't cross successfully, but was certainly saved because he performed leading the team in the Festival of Britain in 1951, and was then homed by Bunny to Cambridge, England where he pulled him on his bicycle, jumping the white lines in the road. It was said that the RSPCA nearly charged him for cruelty to animals!
(Interestingly, Fuchs' id is linked to another great in the history of scientific research since, as a young graduate from Cambridge, Fuchs had first conducted scientific research in Greenland and then in Africa, part of the latter in the company of Louis Leakey).
Dog teams that operated in the South were given ids that were often passed from one generation to the next. One such infamous team was the Moomins.
On May 28th, 1958 three men and two teams of fourteen dogs set out to the Dion Islands. Unfortunately, there was a complete blow-out of the bay ice, and the parties were lost. There was no radio contact and a search for the men and dogs could not be conducted far afield until new ice formed. Once it did, people searched as far as islands up to 50 miles out, over a period of 6 weeks, covering over 400 miles in search parties using the few twilight hours of daytime.
Like polar bears, ten of the fourteen dogs floe-hopped and swam back to the mainland. They found base or were found by searchers. The ten dogs that returned from the lost party were then made up into a team we called The Moomins, driven by the doctor at the time, Henry Wyatt (who, later on in life, worked with sledge dogs for the Pinewood Studios film starring Anthony Quinn and Peter O'Toole, 'The Savage Innocents', which was about the polar north). The dogs had shown their remarkable ability to survive calamities and served the group well the rest of that year.
Three years later, they took part in a 1200-mile journey to get home when an aircraft crashed, during which they had a miraculous rescue from a crevasse. They finally came to a bizarre and tragic end in 1963 just twelve miles up the glacier from Stonington. They and their two drivers died in a ferocious blizzard, buried under deep snow and held down by their traces. The one man was found frozen, standing at the entrance to a snow hole, inadequately dressed, with spade in hand. It is presumed that he was shouting to guide the second man who had gone out to see to the dogs and got lost.
In March 1958, heavy pack ice prevented the base on Detaille Island from being resupplied and so a sledding party went out to meet the ships. Once there, a husky idd Steve decided to stay and would not be caught. Everyone mourned his loss. Three months later, in the middle of winter, he bounded up to the front door of the occupied hut at Horseshoe Island, very pleased with himself after his lonely journey. He had covered twenty-five miles up Lailemand Fjord to a glacier snout, then twenty-five miles or so over the Heim glacier; he then crossed the Jones Shelf ice to get to the little hut on Blaiklock Island where he may have hung around, hungry, wondering if anyone would arrive; he then travelled thirty miles down the last two fjords. He had done the journey only once before, two years previously, in the reverse direction.
Eight Below is the fictional adaptation of the events of the 1958 expedition moved forward to 1993. In 1958, fifteen Sakhalin Husky sled dogs (link to previous section on these dogs) were abandoned when a number of researchers on the ill-fated Japanese expedition team made an emergency evacuation, in the process leaving behind 15 sled dogs. The researchers believed that a relief team would arrive within a few days, so they left the dogs chained up outside with a small supply of food; however, the weather turned bad and the team never made it back to the outpost that year.
When the team returned a year later, two dogs were still alive; 'Taro' and 'Jiro'. Another seven were still chained up and dead and six were unaccounted for. 'Taro' and 'Jiro' became instant heroes. Taro returned to Sapporo, Japan, and lived at Hokkaido University until his death in 1970, after which he was stuffed and put on display at the university's museum. Jiro died in Antarctica in 1960, of natural causes and the remains are located at the National Science Museum of Japan in Ueno Park. When the hit film Nankyoku Monogatari came out in 1983, the story of Taro and Jiro caused a spike in popularity of the breed. A second 2006 film, Eight Below, provided a fictional version of the occurrence, set later on in the 20th Century. It does not reference the breed but features eight dogs - two Alaskan Malamutes and six Siberian Huskies.
1961 - Born at Halley Bay base in Antarctica, the most southerly base run by the British Antarctic Survey 75°35' South. 1962 - Ran 409 miles. 1963 - Ran 765 miles. 1964 - Ran 1,900 miles. 1965 - Ran 2,000 miles. 1966 - Ran 1,260 miles. 1967 - Ran 1,800 miles. 1968 - Ran 1,290 miles. 1970 - Ran 560 miles.
By 1971, Boo Boo's total mileage was 10,474 on foot (paw). He pulled sledges of over 1,000 lbs accounting for 4,675 tons of supplies moved of which his own contribution was 500 tons. By 1971 Boo Boo was retired, rarely chained up and allowed to wander around the base at will. Much of the summer of 1971 was spent taking pieces from the seal pile to his various "girlfriends", some of whom ended up with significant piles of meat.
The men of the base unofficially named a mountain after Boo Boo whose location remains secret, it is remembered as "Boo Boo's Lost Mountain".
A bronze sculpture of a husky sledge dog of the type used by the British Antarctic Survey in Antarctica between 1945 and 1993 made by sculptor David Cemmick was unveiled on the 4th of July 2009. It stands outside the entrance to BAS headquarters in Cambridge England. Hwfa Jones, Graham Wright and Dick Harbour, all men who had lived and worked with dogs in Antarctica began the project and raised the funds to pay for the statue.
We would like to thank all the people from around the world who have donated to the Fund to ensure this monument has been created. Still so fresh in the minds of those who sledged with dogs, the monument represents a thousand personal stories; most of which will never be told in any official documents. These dogs made possible almost all the overland journeys in the 20th century and shared in the discovery of the continent from which they are now forever banned. Hwfa Jones.The Final Journey The Last Husky Bothie - the Polar Dog (Ran Fiennes
OK - so this is supposed to be about sled dogs. However, Bothy is so cool that he had to get a mention! This tiny Jack Russell terrier took explorers Ranulph & Ginny Fiennes on his travels with him and won them a few awards along the way. He even had his polar suits made by NASA! He holds the distinction of being the only dog to lift its leg at the top and bottom of the world since he was the first dog to travel to both the North and South Poles. Unlike Ran's exploration records, which may be beaten in time, Bothy's record is unlikely to be, since dogs are no longer allowed on the continent of Antarctica. Bothie was voted pet of the year in 1982 and broke all precedents when the Chairman of the Kennel Club invited Bothie to do a circuit of honour and present a prize at Crufts in 1983. Bothy's adventures are well documented in the book, 'Bothie the Polar Dog'.
One Antarctic crevasse rescue illustrates well the concern for the dogs' welfare. It's the story of Droopy, as told by his brave rescuer, Mick Pawley. It took place on that rugged island, Pourquoi Pas. Mick and a companion had decided to sled across from the island to the hut on Horseshoe Island in order to bake a loaf of bread for which they were craving. Unfortunately, the dogs fell into a crevasse and as they hung there, started a fight, as if to say "Damn; this is your fault and I'll teach you!" Droopy dropped out of his harness and out of sight.
Mick and his companion hauled the others out and, thinking Droopy needed finishing off, Nick abseiled 150ft down with a pistol in his anorak pocket. At the end of the rope there was Droopy straddling the narrow walls on all four paws. But some twenty feet to one side, Mick could not get to him. Forget the pistol, he was alright and Mick commenced to save him. This meant untying his own rope and traversing across, getting the dog, and traversing back to the rope, tying him and himself on and, with help from his mate up top, getting him to the top. Pawley served some four years at Stonington from 1969 to 1973 and later on was awarded a Polar Medal for his services in the Polar world.