Two incredible sled dogs from Scott`s 1909 South Pole expedition
Even though Scotts expedition party to the South Pole did not survive, they documented in their journals many aspects from the journey. Amongst the pages there are written a few sections about the heroic efforts of two of the sled dogs that took part in the expedition: Osman
Both were strong, old and experienced lead dogs that had served in the Russian postal service. They are described as having a fine head and more of an Inuit dog look. The written pages tells us of how brave, strong and courageous these sled dogs were, and how hard and full of perils the life of sled dogs could be.OSMAN
The ship carrying the expedition got caught, on its way to the South Pole, in a violent sea storm and Osman was washed overboard. He must have had incredible luck, as he was washed on board again with the returning wave! He survived the storm. Osman was a true leading dog, smart and calm. He tried on several occasions to train younger sled dogs, and keeping them from causing havoc. In the expedition`s journals this was, at some point, also recorded: “Here indeed was a dog of dogs, enduring beyond belief, and worthy of a small niche in the temple of canine fame”.
Osman`s story reveals not only his own courage and strong character, but alsos Scotts courage and compassionate character towards other dogs. During the expedition a sled dog team fell through a crevasse. 12 dogs and the sled fell down, whilst Osman, the only dog left on safe ground, stood strong and valiantly held the sled while Scott descended down into the crevasse. 4 of the dogs were fighting as they swung together, whilst one had fell out of its harness to a ledge below. The tension that had built up led to the team attacking the rescue sled dog team. Osman did his best to try and keep the other dogs from fighting and all were, in the end, saved.STAREEK
Stareek was one of the expedition party’s favorite dogs. In the journals there were written about how he had a habit of licking his lips and wagging his tail wildly and lying on his back with his tongue out and pawing his face whenever anyone showed him affection. He was accompanying Scott on his journey to the South Pole, when Scott decided he was too old for the job and should return back to the ship for retirement with the first party. Stareek did not agree with this decision, he wanted to accompany Scott the whole way to the South Pole. He chewed through his harness and ran south towards Scott`s team, following their tracks. 18 days and 200 miles later, Scott found him one morning, resting on the sled.
He had survived about 20 days without food and was so weak that he could barely walk. “That is a feat that should be preserved in the annals of travel”, they wrote about him in the journals. He was an old dog, but still had the determination, stamina and endurance to continue on his journey despite his age, without even food or shelter.
The memories of these two dogs tells of how, valiant and brave the sled dogs heart is. They deserve a place in history for their deeds and loyal serving of men.