Nunamit (pronounced: Noo-nah-me), which means “from the land” in Inuktitut was our first dog, along with her sister, Aklaq. When we saw her at 6 weeks, she was tiny. She had an identical colouring to her sister, except that the markings above her eyes were a little more obvious and her head shape is a little longer.
When Nuna was about 7 months old we almost lost her. She stopped eating and drinking, and she was in a lot of pain when she moved. Without any veterinary care here we were at a loss for what to do to help her. Lucky for us there was an extremely helpful nurse in town that gave us some ringer solution and instructions on how to give Nuna the injections. For over a week and a half we tried to nurse her back to help, but nothing seemed to help. In a final act of desperation we force fed her olive oil for a day. Suddenly, that evening, Nuna was on her feet and moving around. She promptly ran downstairs to the carpet and relieved herself. After that she was quite active and it wasn’t long before she was back to her true self.
Nuna is our lead dog. That means that, while dog sledding, she is on a slightly longer line than the rest of the dogs. She is the dog that we trust to follow our directions and to lead the other dogs on the trail. While she is good in this roll and we trust her sense of direction to lead us home in a storm, she can sometimes have a mind of her own. There are times when she feels that she knows best where we should go. One time she made an abrupt 90 degree detour to lead the team towards a seal hole on the ice. Maybe she thought she was helping us find dinner….for her!
Like her sister, Aklaq, Nuna is full of personality. She is very sensitive. One summer we brought a friend out to help us scooter the dogs. He had a couple of them hooked up to the scooter and was trying to get them to go down. Not being used to working with sled dogs, he thought that he had to yell at them. He was yelling “down” to Nuna and getting frustrated that she wasn’t responding. My husband told him that Nuna is very sensitive and you have to ask her nicely! Our friend softly said, “Nuna down” and instantly she dropped to the ground! In addition to being sensitive, Nuna wants to be right by our side all the time. My husband and I joke that she wonders why we leave her with the “dogs” instead of bringing her home with the rest of the “humans”!