24 December 2021

#AntarcticLog: In appreciation of dogs

Posted by Shane Hanlon

#AntarcticLog is a series of comics by Karen Romano Young. You can find the originals here.
It makes sense that there are no more dogs in Antarctica. It’s been close to 60 years since any invasive species except for humans and the odd spider or mite brought in accidentally was allowed on the continent. Increasingly, people working in Antarctica have recognized their own impact and worked to manage trash, waste, and fuel accordingly. 
It can be far easier for furry, four-footed friends to cross treacherous Antarctic ridges and formations than people or vehicles. Time was, back in the age of the heroic explorers, dogs were helpful for transport, warmth, companionship — and sometimes, food. 
Dogs were among the first expeditioners to reach the South Pole, along with Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen. 
The last dogs — a mix of Alaskan malamutes, huskies, and other furry, hardy breeds — left the continent in the 1960s, but their pictures still hang in the halls of research stations — and their gene pool can still be seen in mutts and strays in Antarctic gateway cities like Punta Arenas, Chile.  
I’ll be home for Christmas, so here’s a shout out to those manning research stations for the holidays. With me will be my furry companion, a rescue dog named Eleanor Roosevelt.  I can’t help wishing for support and homes for all the good dogs, wherever they might be.  
Happy Holidays from #AntarcticLog!
Karen Romano Young is a writer, artist, deep-sea diver, and polar explorer. Follow her on Twitter & Instagram