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Mushing Innovations

ADMA 2007 Symposium Best Invention Contest Winners

Mark & Sue Hamilton's Geezer-Mushers Dog Box

Mark and Sue Hamilton’s Dog Box Designed for Geezer-Mushers

As recreational mushers of Inuit Dogs, we find we don’t need a lot of dogs to have a lot of fun. This is a good thing since we’re at that stage when arthritic spines and peripheral joints are dictating that we find ways to have fun with fewer dogs! Our previous dog boxes were all slant sided eight-holers (four per side) mounted atop a small truck bed. We stowed most of our gear underneath the box in the truck bed, and with our most previous dog truck, either towed a trailer with our Fritz Dyck cart and the dog ramp or carried the ramp and our sled on top of the box. Using a dog ramp meant less lifting, but overhead lifting was still very much apart of our mushing. As far as removing the monstrous box for the off season…forgetaboutit!

Then we saw the dog box that Alex Murphy made. Alex not only makes great dog sleds (MaineMade), he is also master carpenter (he actually went to school with Norm Abram of This Old House fame) and an innovative thinker. Alex, too, decided that he’d had enough lifting of dogs and gear and wrestling of monolithic dog box from the back of his truck in the off season. Even though he has a big, honkin’ Dodge dually and lots of Alaskan Huskies – a combination amenable to the “open bed” design – Alex encouraged Mark to adapt the design to accommodate our fewer, larger dogs on top of a Ford Ranger extended cab. We thought it would be like cramming ten pounds of “poo” into a five-pound sack, but it actually turned out to be an incredibly spacious and utilitarian contraption!

Mark used a shareware CAD (computer aided design) program to develop a model. This program also generated a layout for all the wooden pieces and a parts list, too!

Chatting about design
Mark chats with Alex about his modular dog box design.

~Click for Larger View~

Mark’s CAD program design.
Mark’s CAD program design.

This dog box is made up of three detachable modules: two rail boxes (driver and passenger side), each capable of carrying two dogs up to about 75 pounds and a bed box capable of carrying a similar size dog.

Trial fitting
Two modules in for trial fitting. Looky, the rear view mirror still works!

~Click for Larger View~

Lots of Room
Hard to believe all this room!

In our previous dog boxes, all internal walls between dogs were made of either expanded metal or wire panels from old dog crates. And in the case of this new design, there was enough wire crate material scavenged from the last dog box to become both the interior walls and part of each of the five dog doors. The wire for the doors was sprayed flat black, making
it easier to see the beasts within.

We have never used hay in our dog boxes. Yeah, the dogs may like it, but we feel they are better served by using closed-cell foam anti-shock/anti-fatigue mats, which maintain a uniform thickness and ease vibrations against some of their less padded body parts. The dogs have never chewed the pads and they are easy to squeegee free of drool and barf using the rubber blade side of a windshield snow removal device.

Measuring for Mat
Measuring for the second gray anti-fatigue mat. Note wire divider.
Doors are ready
Door ready for primer and paint.

[Go to Page 2]

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