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Professor’s Pooches: Uppik and Merv

By Ben Horwitz and Gabriel Delabra ’17

This week for “Professor’s Pooches,” we went for a walk along the Nature Trail with Joshua Moses, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology, and his dogs, Merv and Uppik.



Merv, whose formal name is Nelu Jack (which means “comfort” in Inuktitut) is now fifteen months old. Professor Moses soon realized after adopting Merv, however, that the pooch was not exactly comforting, but “more of a mischief maker.” Merv is a Welsh name, and is half-brothers with Uppik (the pooches share the same mom).

Uppik has been with Professor Moses for a considerably longer amount of time than Merv. While doing fieldwork in Canada in 2001, Moses encountered the dog tied to a fence in someone’s front yard. He later learned that Uppik was between owners, and joked that if no one wanted him, he would gladly take him. The following day, Moses received a serious email stating that Uppik was officially his. The professor openly admits that he had “absolutely no plans to adopt a giant dog” at the time, and that he hadn’t exactly figured where he was going to live next either.

Uppik was also not too thrilled about staying with Professor Moses. For roughly ten days, Uppik refused to let Professor Moses touch him. The pooch slept outside, and Moses would only interact with him to serve him food. Uppik eventually learned that he was safe, however, and gradually began to show Moses some affection.

Nowadays, both dogs and owner are close. Uppik has connected with his musical side, and howls along whenever Professor Moses plays the accordion. Both Uppik and Merv greatly enjoy walks in the woods and by the Duck Pond, and occasionally on the other side of the tennis courts with other faculty dogs.



As written in his faculty profile bio, Professor Moses has focused his research on “disaster and complex socio-ecological change.” He has participated in religious responses to the attacks of September 11th and Hurricane Katrina, and has worked with Nunatsiavut Inuit communities in northern Labrador, Canada on various issues “in the context of recent land claim settlements and large-scale resource extraction.”

Ben Horwitz ’17 has taken Professor Moses’s “Nature/Culture: An Introduction to Environmental Anthropology,” and wholeheartedly recommends the course to anyone wishing to explore the role of culture in addressing environmental issues.



Josh and the Dogs

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