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The Not So Happy Lives of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party Dogs

The Not So Happy Lives of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party Dogs

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Published by Storm Gerome
Draft Research compiled so far on the surviving dogs from the Ross Sea Party 1914-1916. A timeline of the dogs that returned on the ship Aurora with Sir Ernest Shackleton after the rescue of the survivors of the Ross Sea Party. The dogs were sent to Wellington Zoo in New Zealand.
Draft Research compiled so far on the surviving dogs from the Ross Sea Party 1914-1916. A timeline of the dogs that returned on the ship Aurora with Sir Ernest Shackleton after the rescue of the survivors of the Ross Sea Party. The dogs were sent to Wellington Zoo in New Zealand.

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Published by: Storm Gerome on Nov 18, 2010
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01/27/2015

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The Unhappy lives of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party Dogs
(Draft Research) Compiled and written y !i" Clark #ovemer $%&%
History portrays the early days of Antarctic exploration as being something heroic. It took brave men indeed to face the great expanse of the great white southern continent those of the early days of the 20th Century knew little or nothing about. xpeditions of such magnitude were to be held in awe and with that there came a high cost both financially and in the loss of life. A high price to pay to set foot on that great vastness at the bottom of the globe. !et men did and still do today."n the #th of $ebruary %#%&' the Aurora berthed at (ellington Harbour to a warm welcome by the people of )ew *ealand. +he Aurora had been on a rescue mission with rnest ,hackleton on board to retrieve the men of the -oss ,ea arty. /any are aware of the ,hackleton xpedition to the (eddell ,ea and the harrowing experience ,hackleton and his men went through with the loss of the endurance. ventually ,hackleton and the survivors ended up on lephant Island."n the other side of the story the men ,hackleton had tasked to lay supply depots at the -oss ,ea for the planned transAntarctic crossing were having trials and tribulations of their own.+he ten men of the -oss ,ea arty had with them %1 dogs. +en of the dogs were dead within two months of the expeditions landing at the -oss ,ea. 3y the time rescue came at Cape -oyds only seven men and five dogs 4possibly 567 had survived. In his diary rnest 8oyce had noted the heroism of the four dogs that had survived the marchacross the inhospitable Antarctic terrain.9
Without the aid of four faithful friends, Oscar, Con, Gunner, and Towser  , the party could never have arrived back. These dogs from November  accompanied the  sledging parties, and, although the pace was often very slow, they adapted themselveswell to it. Their endurance was fine. !or three whole days at one time they had not a  scrap of food, and this after a period on short rations. Though they were feeble towards the end of the trip, their condition usually was good, and those who returned with them will ever remember the remarkable service they rendered." # $rnest $.  %oyce
+he dog Con 4Conrad7 did not return alive. +owser' :unner and "scar had in fact killed him during a fight during August of %#%5. ,hackleton had noted in his book
 that the dogs were poorly trained' and in poor condition at the beginning of theexpedition. +he dogs treatment had not been any better. +hey had suffered ill treatment and starvation. +hat any returned at all was a small miracle.(hen the Aurora returned' ,hackleton opened the ship to the admiring (ellington  public. +he
 $vening &ost 
 of %& $ebruary %#%& reported
 
Today the people of Wellington were able to make the personal a'uaintance of "Gunner," "!unny !ace," "Teddy," and the rest of the dogs that have become famous owing to their association with the (oss )ea &arty of the )hackleton $*pedition.
 
The occasion was the throwing open of the vessel for inspection by the public, and the visitors were numerous.
 
On board all the dogs were displayed, including the mother dog with a family of eight puppies, who did not seem to like having her domestic affairs so unceremoniously intruded upon, and looked suspiciously at all who went near her. Chalked above her was the sign "+angerous." 
"n the 2&th of $ebruary %#%& an advertisement appeared in the vening ost advisingthat six of the puppies were to put up for auction on behalf of the ,hackleton xpedition
Also, BY SPECIAL REQUEST -6 CANADIAN SLEDGE DOGS (pups)This sal p!s"#s #o o" a"$ all a" oppo!#u"i#% &o! s'u!i" a sou"i! o& #h !*a!+al Sou#h Pola! Ep$i#io" .us# !#u!"$, as #h a!ious li"s /ill  sol$ i" lo#s #o sui# u%!s000 Go! Tho*as 1 Co (Au'#io"!s)
(hat happened to the missing two puppies is unknown. "ne would have thought the older dogs might have ended up living ;uiet lives somewhere. ,adly it wasnt to be. $ascination with exploration and anything associated with it created a want by the adoring public to see the surviving dogs.+hus they' like Captain -obert $alcon ,cotts famous dog "sman' became attractions at the (ellington *oo.+he
 $vening &ost 
 reported on %# /ay %#%& of the dogs in the care of the (ellington *oo' with perhaps' a hint of adventurous curiosity.
From the blizzard-swept trails of the Antarctic wastes to an uneventful existence in the Wellington Zoo is the lot of the dogs that helped to make histor with  Shackletons expedition"#owser$ %unner$ &scar and the animal whose phsiognom has earned him the appellation of Funn Face$ the last named still health if not good-looking$ are all there"#he lad-dog$ who in the wilds of the 'oss Sea added to the famil part eight little bundles of fur$ of which an canine father might feel proud$ is also at the Zoo"  She is now childless$ her pups having reached the age when the leave their mothers apron strings" Apparentl$ however$ she is taking her return to single blessedness ver philosophicall$ and does not wear a (Where are m children)* look"
 
 A +ost reporter who made the ac,uaintance of the dogs when the Aurora was coming up the harbour on her return from the Far South renewed his friendship with them esterda afternoon$ and received a cordial welcome"#he visit was made with a view to seeing the environment of the dogs$ certain criticisms of their treatment having been published in the newspapers" #he animals have a strong strain of wolf in their composition$ and$ in view of the fact that the still at intervals feel the call of the wild$ are kept on the chain in the da time" An enclosure with a strand of wire round it has been set aside for them$ and in this compound the are at home ever fine da to visitors" n the wet the are kept under cover$ %unner and #owser each having a spare cage alongside a bear"#he other dogs are ,uartered elsewhere$ Funn Face being in a separate enclosure and ,uartered at night in a large barrel" #he dogs are all in the pink of condition$ and when spoken to wag their tails with canine happiness" #he appear to be contended with their lot" t has been suggested that the dogs should be placed in the large wire-netting cages where prett birds displa their gorgeous plumage$ but it is pointed out that the netting would not be strong enough for the purpose" As compared with the privations of their terrible sledge-.ournes / on one dash in ablizzard with three sick men on sledges the were five das without food / the are living almost luxuriousl" A plan to give them proper exercise b means of sledges isat present under contemplation"
,ome of the histories that mention the -oss ,ea arty dogs have stated that only three dogs returned on the Aurora. However' my investigations have revealed at least < adult dogs with a possible sixth dog being named as well as 1 puppies that were born on the
 urora
 on the voyage back to (ellington. ,o far the names of the dogs I have found are as follows
Os'a! ($o)To/s! ($o)Gu""! ($o)2u""% 2a' ($o)T$$% (possil% &*al )Bi#'hi (possil% &*al)
=3itchie> was referred to in a report of a meeting of the (ellington *oological ,ocietyin the
 $vening &ost 
 %5 8uly %#%&

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