Dr. Rae meets Eskimos/ Discovery of Franklin Expedition Relics by Charles Comfort, 1949
Dogs have always played an important role in the lives of the men of Hudson's Bay Company and the native peoples. The following excerpts from original sources illustrate this.
Dogs as companions:
1824 - August
Samuel Black's exploration of the Finlay River from Rocky Mountain Portage in Peace River to its source
"We are here camped on a sandy eminence or mount rising in the valley covered with dwarfish pines and moss and one of the most romantic sequestrations imaginable, the evening is fine calm and serene and clear moon light and the solitude of this nocturnal scene is only interrupted by the lonely howl of the Indian Dogs prowling about the mountain sides in anxiety for their masters."
Dogs as hunters:
1824 - June
"The Thecannies not being Nimrodians or mighty hunters, but they have the art of teaching their small Indian Dogs with erect ears to hunt alone and the little hairy beagles will sometimes go a great distance by themselves and tease the animal they fall in with by their constant barking until their master come up nor will the Thecannie stir from their seat before the accustomed signal, when they go off perhaps the whole camp surrounding the amased animal and drawing near on all sides to prevent an escape..."
Interior of Fort Garry, by H.A. Strong, 1884
Dogs as food:
Chief Trader Peter Ogden
"The natives came to our camp and traded a dozen dogs and some very fine fresh Salmon. ... our Canadian voyageurs are as fond of [dog] as any other meat. I have frequently eaten of them myself; and have found them as palatable as a young pig, and much of the same flavour. These dogs are small; and in shape, very much resemble the wolf. The large dogs are of a different breed, and their flesh always has a rank taste; but this is never the case with the small kind."
Complaint recorded in the Case of the Hudson's Bay Company of England in Reference to the Canada Company of France
"They would not suffer a doctor to help a sick man so that he died, they barbarously imprisoned 15 of the English above a month in the hold of a ship gave them only half a pint of pease a day for a man and boiled dogs with the pease, would not suffer them to have a little air, forced them to do the necessities of nature in the place where they lay..."
Last Dog Train Leaving Lower Fort Garry, 1909 by Charles Comfort, 1927
Dogs as transportation:
According to Peter Fidler's journal, John Pruden and George Groucher left Buckingham House on March 2nd, travelling with 2 sledges with dogs. They carried one bundle of cloth and some kettles.
Saturday March 11, Send four men with eight dogs to meet and assist those from Buckingham with trade goods.
"Dogs were the Chipewyans only other beast of burden (other than women who were made for labour; one of them can carry, or haul as much as two men can do) Isham describes them in the 1740s as serving as pack animals, a use also made of them on the prairie. In the woods in spring his Chipewyan companions cut tent poles to serve them on the barrens in summer. These poles, of birch did not exceed 8 feet and about 1 inch square, are tied together by twos and are hauled by dogs all the summer."