Shackleton’s ‘Endurance’ Expedition, May 27, 1915: Tom Crean’s dogs

–from Ernest Shackleton’s account “South”–

“Crean had started to take the pups out for runs, and it was very amusing to see them with their rolling canter just managing to keep abreast by the sledge and occasionally cocking an eye with an appealing look in the hope of being taken along for a ride. As an addition to their foster-father, Crean, the pups had adopted Amundsen [one of the lead dogs]. They tyrannized over him most unmercifully.

“It was a common site to see him, the biggest dog in the pack, sitting out in the cold with an air of philanthropic resignation while a corpulent pup occupied the entrance to his dogloo. The intruder was generally the pup Nelson, who just showed his fore-paws and face, and one was fairly sure to find Nelly, Roger, and Toby coiled up comfortably behind him.

“At hoosh-time Crean had to stand by Amundsen’s food, since otherwise the pups would eat the big dogs’s ration while he stood back to give them fair play. Sometimes their consciences would smite them and they would drag around a seal’s head, half a penguin, or a large lump of frozen meat or blubber to Amundsen’s kennel for rent. It was interesting to watch the big dog play with them, seizing them by the throat or neck in what appeared to be fierce fashion, while rally quite gentle with them, and all the time teaching them how to hold their own in the world and putting them up to all the tricks of dog life.”

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