This section is in loving memory of the dogs no longer with us. We have used their 'gallery' images at the top and we have added some additional images and text, below...
Valko - DOB 2014, DOD 16th February 2017
Valko would bark until you would visit him but then one sniff, and he would remember that he was shy. We were never very sure how old he was, as nobody made a note of when he was born (in a different kennel). Two inters really fell in love with him in 2008, and made him their ‘project’ and he really loved going for walks with them and this helped him to become less shy. (Anna doesn't actually remember who she means when she wrote about this, in his 'bio' in the dog gallery - so do let her know if it was you!). Valko will forever be immortalised as the dog behind our (Hamish Steptoe's) logo, now worn in a silver pendant around the necks of many ex interns, world-wide.
Hemlock - DOB 30th July 2014, DOD 16th October 2016
Hemlock was one of the planned H-pups from Pasi Heinonen, and came to us in the belly of his mom, Hippi, (mated with a previously tested combination). We lost his sister, Helena, when she was only a few weeks old and it seemed like the rest would make it normally into old age. However, it was not to be. When born, Hemlock was Hippi's first and smallest boy and was distingishible by his dark throat. Right from the word go, he had a little mean streak and when he would meet the "S pups" he was the first one to try and start a brawl (mostly, I think, because he was a little intimidated!). Regardless, that is how he earned his name, even though he was the best 'cuddler' with people. Hemlock fell down one day, in Spring 2015, after warm weather training. We thought it was most likely due to over-heating and after a bit of monitoring, he seemed fine. In 2016, however, he collapsed just watching one of the first training sessions of the season with an arrhythmic and tachycardic heartbeat. The meds he needed were not available late at night in Hetta, but lucily Anna was on ones that worked. He stabilised after a few days with only a few return 'attacks' and the plan was to take him to Oulu (6 hour drive, each way), to have him assessed by a heart specialist but unfortunately he collapsed after having spent the best possible last morning in the guidehouse with just his favourite guide, Gemma. It was a horrible way for him to go for Gemma but probably the best possible way for Hemlock, since he was never happier than when in her presence.
Rosie - DOB 9th November 2008, DOD 15th July 2016.
Rosie was the first of our own litters (from Madonna and Sausage) to leave us. It was a shock. One day Pasi went to the farm late at night to investigate barking and said that Rosie was just standing looking a little strange (head on the side). We brought her up to the house soon afterwards and realised that she really wasn't looking very well and then she went downhill pretty quickly. It turned out that she had an aggressive liver cancer and we had no choice but to put her down after a few days of cuddles. We have always known that we would start to loose 'our first', but we had expected her mom's generation to go first. She definitely wasn't a great sleddog but she was a great companion. From her earliest crazy days where she competed with her siblings Tuuli and Peanut in being the wildest 'escape-from-harness' artists, to her later days when she would spend twice as much energy trying to escape from cages as she would, trotting along on the long safaris, we always knew that she would have loved a chance to retire to the sofa. She had a guide for whom she was the favourite (and vice versa) for a couple of years and she really loved that and missed him. We miss her a lot.
Matsku - DOB 2002, DOD 6th June 2016
Matsku was our oldest dog after Lizzy died in 2015, she was a very strong lead dog back in her prime. She was quite a shy old lady who enjoyed spending time with other quiet and calm dogs over getting cuddles from humans. She gave birth to the 'Planet Pups' in 2009 and she was an excellent mother to them. As she got older, Matsku slowly became blind and deaf and developed a heart condition. There were a couple of times when we thought we were going to lose her, but she kept pulling through. Unfortunately, her condition took a turn for the worse and she was in a lot of pain, we came to the conclusion that the best thing for her would be to put her down.
We would like to give a very special thank you to Andrew Parry has has been sponsoring her through her final years
Petteri - DOD 3rd June 2016
Petteri was an old, shy little dog. He was very noisy and would often bark at you until you came to him, he would then run away and start barking at you again as you walked away. If you managed to get hold of him he would often cling on to your arms and not let go. Petteri was epileptic and spend his last couple of years in our retired sled-dog category. Being epileptic, he wasn't the best sled-dog and so he didn't run many safaris, so he had quite a relaxing life at the farm. He spent a lot of his time here living with a fellow epileptic old dog, Valko and his last couple of days were spent playing in the running fence with some of our other oldies. Unfortunately Petteri had an epileptic fit that was too much for him to handle and he passed away.
We would like to give a very special thank you to Fe Frei & Family who has been sponsoring him throughout his final years
Pönde - DOD 30th March 2016
Pönde was a little shy when lots of people were about. However, once alone with someone he would relax, since he prefered a quiet, calm atmosphere. He enjoyed a soft sofa or dog blanket on the floor. He liked other dogs, but was confident enough to be alone as well. He was a large and strong dog, but also a very obedient one. As you can see from the first picture, he was a bit of a hulk of a dog with slightly bowed legs which made him look a little funny face-on. This had never stood in his way when running however, since he had been one of our work horses from the start - quietly and patiently pulling away, often in wheel.
When, in his later years, Pönde would spend an increasing amount of time indoors, he wasn't necessarily the most popular dog since he loved to poop JUST after being brought in from a walk. It was almost like clockwork. He would sometimes even poop in the car on the way to work if he sat down in there after having just been walked! We knew it was his time when he also started to do the same, without notice, in his kennel and yet he was still regularly enjoying his everyday 2km walks, right to the very end.
Mistral - DOB September 2010, DOD 9th February 2016
One of Anina’s pups, Mistral was less aggressive than his brothers, Pyry and Tuisku, who, ironically, spent more time than Mistral at Hetta vs Valima, when young. Mistral's best friend, Hendrix, lived with Mistral for most of his his life and he was also his running partner. We didn't expect Hendrix to outlive him, and indeed all of Hendrix's age group who had remained at the Valimaa farm, had been killed off, already, pre 2015. Unfortunatly Mistral became very ill and whilst his blood values didn't show exactly what was going on, it seemed like it could have been either cancer or some kind of liver failure. The vets twice said it seemed best to put him down and then twice backed down because of the perkiness of his appearance when it was time. In-between, however, he was pretty miserable despite lots of attention and care and during Hendrix moving into the house, with him, for moral support. The vet said that the blood values were so bad that a recovery was pretty much impossible so we all reluctantly called it a day in the end. He, and his totally typical Valimaa appearance, are missed. We wonder how his brothers are doing.
Merlot - DOB 10th November 2008, DOD 4th January 2016
Merlot was by far the cutest of her litter, and liked nothing more then to pounce right at your face! But it was only so she could give you lots of licks, she was not grumpy at all like her brother, Miyagi. she was always the fastest, strongest and the quickest learner of her litter, and when she did not want to play, she loved to run. She also looked incredibly similar to her brother, Moscow.
Tiinu - DOB 2004, DOD 7th December 2015
Tiinu was a gentle old man even if his dark colouration and dark eyes made him somehow seem a little intimidating to some. His calm and un-ruffled nature made him a great choice for cuddles from visiting children or from those timid around dogs since he would just stand still and 'take' the attention calmly. Although sometimes unsure himself, at first, he secretly liked to be tickled. He never jumped up and was quiet and content in himself. In fact, we often referred to him as the farm 'cat' since his character was cat-like in that he was equally happy for someone to approach him and stroke him or to be left alone. He wasn't so calm when it came to running in line for the first few years, though. Indeed, he was so difficult with other males at first, that we ran him only in female teams. Chewing sticks was always one of his favourite pastimes but he was well behaved in that he never chewed his kennel. Tiinu was finally put to sleep before we saw the pain from testicular cancer getting too strong (which is a little ironic, since he was on the castrated male list for years and we somehow missed the fact that there was a mistake in our system and we had never managed to get him 'done').
Max - DOB 2002, DOD 7th December 2015
In his day Max was a fantastic lead dog - arguably the best of our first dogs in terms of the combination of work ethic, line-out, GEE HAW capabilities etc. Whilst he might have been very consistent when working, he was unfortunately super scared when he came to us (shy doesn't cut it) and he only finally warmed to people after spending most of a couple of winters indoors, keeping company to other oldies.
He would still flinch, however, whenever he was touched although when on a soft indoor bed, he wouldn't panic and run from us. He was prone to limping in his later years since he had tendons which would become inflamed quickly, so he was semi-retired for a number of years, just training pups in training season / running the very shortest of safaris....One great thing about Max was that he was always super easy with all dogs. He was, in fact, exactly the kind of main leader that every farm would want. He remained the most consistent GEE HAW dog we had, right to the end. On his last day, he went for a walk with Tiinu, pulling all the way, and had a fun time playing with him in 'Shady Pines'. He had a huge heart and I hope we were able to show him through consistent patience that he was appreciated even if he didn't take joy from being around humans. The rare days when Max would look for a gentle stroke, secure beside another dog, were memorable and heart-warming indeed.
Jolly - DOB March 2007, DOD November 16th 2015
Jolly was Jupi’s brother and looked quite like him but he never became as used to people as his brother who, for better or worse, had a cut in his arm soon after arriving at HH from the so-called 'shy-dog-farm'. Although Jupi came to love care and attention, Jolly never enjoyed enough to bring him out of his shell. Maybe if he had, he would have developed into as good a sled-dog as his brother. As it was, he was always the one who was a bit less friendly, a bit less exceptional as a sled-dog, a bit lighter in colour etc. He also had one ear flopping down more often than his brother (which is how the new guides would sometimes tell them apart). When he rolled over in the snow, you would see that he had a lovely red-coloured tummy and he secretely loved it to be stroked. Jolly died unexpectedly one morning after a normal round of early season morning soup from a stomach that suddenly twisted.
Lizzy - DOD 2015
Lizzy was Anna's dog. Despite having over 150 dogs, Lizzie was her's in that special way that comes along once in a lifetime. She would wait beside the door or on top of the table for hours when Anna would go out and she would leap and jump for delight when walking around with her outside. She didn't at all understand how old she was, even at the very end, although her hearing had become very selective. At 10 she could still jump the 'baby gate' so we figured she could still run in the team. She finally went into full retirement at around 14 and she had a happy last winter, albeit with a few episodes of mini-strokes and she finally passed away in the summer of 2015 - a perfect one with relatively few mosquitos, and moderate temperatures in which Lizzie would enjoy sunbathing on the grass just beside the main door with everyone within her sight.
Kravitz - DOD 2015
Kravtiz's death was fairly unexpected. He presented as 'not being himself' for a week or so and then he had a lot of pain that we couldn't control and after trying all of the options immediately available, we decided that it wasn't fair to 'just wait' to see what might improve any longer. He came to us first with a huge lump on the side of his face that antibiotics etc hadn't been able to cure. Weeks of traditional poultices later, not only was his lump gone but also any residual shyness he might have had.
Plan - DOD 2015
Plan was one of the first dogs to come to us. He was originally from the Juha Peka farm and he was a decent, if not great, leader, in his day. He was fairly clever even though he was shy, so we sometimes used him in the lead with a less experienced dog (whether a puppy or a new leader) beside him. He limped on and off for the last few years of his life but he would still participate in autumn training and he was patient even if the dog beside him wasn't so great about minding his manners. Despite our efforts, he remained fairly shy even until the end. His happiest days were probably spent in the retirement cage with Ruuti and Elvis. He never voluntarily approached a human for a cuddle but if his chain ever broke, he would walk up to you quietly and ask to be taken home. He was one of the first of the older dogs to benefit from access to the 'Shadey Pines' running fence and he preferred being out there to in the house - particularly our crazy house! He moved in for his last couple of days but went downhill relatively quickly. He didn't have a bad end of life at all for a sled dog.
Elvis - DOB 2002, DOB 2014
Elvis came to us shy from the Juha Pekka farm in Ivalo, along with the rest of our first 44 dogs. He remained relatively shy throughout his time with us but in his final couple of years he was primarily living in either the floored retirement cage or in the large running fence with other oldies like Ruuti and Plan and he seemed to enjoy that quite a bit. He even showed quite a bit of spark when we occassionally put pups in with him who needed to be put in their place. We put Elvis to sleep a couple of days after he had had a stroke. He was no longer stressed from the stroke but we didn't want him to have to go into another winter without being in good enough shape to face it head on.
Snoopy - DOB 18th July 2014, DOD 2014
Snoopy was one of Sanna's second litter of pups in the summer of 2014. For a long time he was called Spoldge, due to the spoldge of white on his back. But the left of his face reminded my owners of the cartoon Snoopy, so his real name was chosen since they figured that shouting 'Spoldge' would sound silly from the back of a sleigh! He was happy and healty until he was about 8 or 9 weeks old and then during individual pup play time, one morning, we noticed that he had a small wheeze. He came into the house (it was just literally a couple of days after we had lost Helena and moved all of the puppy intensive care boxes out so we had to move it all back in) and we put him on antibiotics but when he didn't seem to be responding, we asked the vet to check his physiology in case we were missing something. She didn't find anything so we just kept monitoring the situation and it looked, after about a week, that we might be winning the battle. Unfortunately, he suddenly went downhill again after the second week and was struggling intensively to breathe for a few minutes at a time and it got so bad that it wasn't fair to keep him alive when we and the vets didn't really know what was going on. We were super super sad to loose him.
Helena - DOB 2014, DOD 2014
Helena joined us in the summer of 2014 and stayed with us for five short weeks. She was one of Hippi's six pups and we noticed within c.30 mins that she was not feeding properly. For the next 3 weeks we fed her by hand, around the clock. Every 1.5-2 hours. During this time we realised what a fighter she was. She was the first to open her eyes and one of the most playful puppies in the litter. We were lucky to have Princess in the house, as she was a wonderful foster Mum for Helena and really cared for her between feeds. She snuggled her, cleaned and even tried to feed her, herself since, in true husky / wolf fashion, she started lactating to try to help (although we had to shave the fur around her nipples for Helena to be able to latch on through all of Princess' fur). By 4 weeks she was eating and drinking normally. Unfortunately at the same time, all the puppies seemed to catch a bug, which the rest managed to fight off after a day or two, but for poor little Helena it was the beginning of the end. She did not have a strong enough immune system to fight it off and despite us keeping her hydrated with sub cut fluids for many days, she ended up passing away peacefully whilst lying curled up under Princess' arms.
Ruuti - DOB 2002, DOD 2014
Ruuti’s decline started with the loss of his (normally very loud) voice. It was sad but funny to still see him trying to bark as much as he used to for the three or so years in which his bark more or less disappeared. His name means gunpowder in Finnish and he lived up to his name by being a cracker of a dog all his life. He used to entertain the guides by standing on his hind legs, holding his bowl, barking and jumping up and down all at the same time. Towards the end of his life, he was pretty happy to just have the chance to chill out on the couch in peace although his house 'training-ness' decreased a bit with age so in his last winter we seemed to be cleaning a lot of dog beds after him and his then-companion, Max (who was inside most of the winter, with a limp). Ruuti would have loved focused attention and a gentle home in his last couple of years of life and we were sad that we couldn't really offer that to him (our house, with up to 17 dogs in recuperation mode within it at any one time) and 20 - 30 people regularly traipsing through it isn't really the ideal place for a retirement home for a dog. Nevertheless we did our best and he had that soft bed he loved so much through those last months of his life. We finally called it a day for him when his hips seemed too stiff for him to be enjoying his walks with Max.
Ted - DOD 2013
Ted was one of the most frustrating dogs of his time because of his great potential in the training season (to the extent that he was alway one of our best GEE HAW leaders at that time) compared to his complete lack of willingness to run in the client season - probably because of his extremely shy nature and unwillingness to be around new people. We used to say that he was pretty lucky to live with us since there weren’t many farms that would be that patient with him not earing his keep through the year. One day a client (Patricia Leroy) visited who wanted to be introduced to every dog on the farm and seemed most drawn to the difficult cases, like Ted. When it came time to putting a team together for a safari for her, she wanted to try Ted and, true to form, he ran brilliantly (although he was clearly out of shape) and remembered all of his commands. Patricia decided to support this great dog which we were super thankful. Unfortunately, he developed anal fissures and eventually we resigned ourselves to having to put him down.
Paavo - DOD 2013
Paavo was a beautiful floopy-eared dog who didn't look much like a husky but had a good arctic coat. He was shy when he arrived and that never changed much. One good memory I have of his early days is when he ate through the dog kitchen sick dog cage door and darted past an unsuspecting new guide and disappeared past me into the night just when a local reindeer herder was visiting. It created a great impression of how in control of our dogs we always are. The vet put him to sleep to check a really bad limp on his hip with X-ray but decided that there was so much degeneration that it was best to call it a day.
Fonina - DOD 2013
At 11 years, Fonina was one of the oldest dogs on the farm when she passed away. She was a good GEE HAW leader in the training season although she tended to hold the line out in a half-turned position. She was clever enough to recognise when there were clients about, she could get away with refusing to start on the start line. Hence, she pretty much got a holiday every winter when everyone else is working hard and tried our patience quite a bit - especially when she would get so fat by the end of the season that she looked like a little rotund barrel! Luckily, her super friendly and loving nature made it pretty easy to forgive her! She was born on what my owners call the 'shy farm' but somehow she pushed past her hard start and wanted to give and receive love and play from morning to night. She could skijor, have fun playing or enjoy lying on the couch with you. She just couldn't be expected to work too hard.
I came from the Valimaa farm and my mother was Maia. I was the prettiest pup in my litter when we were all small - I had a super cute face and eyes. I spent my first few months on the Hetta Huskies farm since there were no facilities for me at the other farm. Unfortunately, there had been a lot of inbreeding on that farm that it became apparent that I was suffering from some sort of genetic malformation when my adult teeth started to come in. They not only didn't push my milk teeth out (so that I had two rows of teeth and looked like a tiny monster for a while) but I also managed to break my jaw (which was weak) around this time...probably playing with Monty). As I grew older, I was almost certainly the ugliest dog ever. My lower jaw hung down and stopped growing but my tongue certainly did not and my eyes bulged out. My tongue would pick up lots of dirt and even after I had my adult teeth removed, I had to have my teeth brushed twice daily since I was so susceptible to infections in my mouth and my breath smelt so badly. Everyone could tell I had entered the room by the smell I brought with me. Every time my owners thought about putting me down, they would let me outside in the yard to play and would see that I loved life so very much that they kept delaying the day that I would go to the sky. I simply loved to play - with them, with Eliel, with other dogs and with all of their belongings! Finally, one day, when I was playing happily in the running fence, I annoyed another dog who didn't want to play with me quite as much as I wanted to play with him and I got injured again and that was the end. My owners were really sad and miss me a lot since I had lived on their bed for so long.
I was about 12 when I went to the sky. I came from Sweden with Helge, Bandit, Leon and co. When I got here, I was really shaky and I couldn't even walk normally so my owners were sceptical that I would run any more. However, I defied their expectations through the first and second winter that I was here. They hoped that I would have the fun of being able to take part in some training during the autumn of my final season but I had gone downhill a lot in that final year and, despite daily walks and time in the running fence to try to keep my back legs strong, it wasn't to be. I went home to the sky in March of 2012.
Storm and Other Pups
In our first year of pups, we lost one out of our first 21 pups to an infection from a bite from his mum. He is pictured here. 3 of Matsku's pups didn't make it - 2 from the get-go and 1 who was put down once we realised that he had a cleft palate. It is never nice to loose a pup and those that we have managed to nurse, healthily, through a difficult start have often gone on to become just as great as their siblings (Atlas, who was born, not breathing, and Olive and Owl from Grumpy's large litter who needed milk supplements.
I came here in the first Autumn that the farm existed, from Juha Pekka's farm in Inari. I was one of the few dogs from there that was open and friendly from the outset and I ran well through the first winter but then developed some sort of neurological disorder and started to walk in circles. The vet tried to figure out what was going on but once I stopped enjoying life, it was time to go.
Hiski was the dog we called a gremlin since he had super short little legs and a huge fluffy head. It was pretty hard to find harnesses to fit him. He had a huge heart and was pretty much the only dog in our first season who took his role of lead dog very seriously. He would strain into the harness, leaning forward and trying as hard as he could to hold the team tight, behind him, on the start line and he was perfect for training pups since he couldn't run that fast. His little legs simply wouldn't carry him. Indeed, any team in which Hiski was leading was sure to be a good way behind the team in front!
RIP also, Tuula's dogs. (click here)