Q: What happened with your dogs? Did your dogs become very sick on this
NV: The dogs wouldn't eat the food for one thing and those that did became
sick at once and we didn't know why. And we supposedly had the same food with
the same formula that we'd been working on for a whole year. But the company
didn't produce what was requested and what they said they would do. And it
turned out that they had asked their suppliers for donations and the suppliers
that gave the donations gave floor sweepings. But the main company just
received the volume of food and prepared the biscuits because that's what they
were. They were a form of dog food biscuits and the biscuits contained wire
and glass and hay and some straw and a string. I remember the string in the
pieces of food. Very disastrous. And it meant that we couldn't feed this food
to the dogs and yet we were at a stage where the dogs had already started for
the Antarctic. It was the first night on board the boat that we found this
situation to exist.
Q: What would have happened if the dogs hadn't made it?
NV: The expedition wouldn't have been successful. It would not have been able
to establish a camp. The dogs were a key to Admiral Byrd's success. Firstly
that they, the dogs brought all our equipment. Six hundred and fifty tons of
it into the site at Little America and then the dogs were the basis of internal
travel for the scientists and for Admiral Byrd's rescue, should he have needed
one out on the trail.
Q: What did you have to do in New Zealand?
NV: Well we had to solve this food problem. So I volunteered among Goodale,
Crockett and myself. I said I'll go in to Duneaton and you stay with the dogs
and take care of them, and I'll try to get some food in there and make it up
ourselves. So I went to a chocolate factory and got permission from them to
mix food during the night provided I would so sterilize those machines that I
used, the paddle machines in mixing, that there would be no question about dog
food being in the candy mix of the next day, which I did very thoroughly. And
I lived right at that factory for about three weeks making up the dog food
which was made up from a formula that just Goodale, Crockett and I created. It
was meat meal, fish meal, tallow and vitamins. Just those four ingredients.