Lucky Adoptees

Some dogs have been adopted, through our work and care, into new homes. You can find out more about their stories, their travel to their new homes and how they have settled in to their new homes here

The dogs shown below are the only ones to have been adopted to date. Those with (HH) after their names are from our own farm. All of the rest are either rescues that have come to us locally or dogs from the nearby Transun UK / Santa Safaris farm which we managed for a number of years. We prioritised finding new homes for their older or non-running dogs over our own oldies, at first, because we knew that they wouldn't have the option to live into retirement on their own farm. Now that we can't help the dogs from there any longer, our own oldies have more of a chance to find a comfy sofa too.


Miyagi (HH) | Miyagi (HH) | Pikkis (HH) | Comet (HH) | Lotta (HH) | Drizen (HH) | Eka (HH) | Bandit (HH) | Arvi (HH) | Pepe (HH) | Fala (HH) | Anjuska | Bernie (HH) | Hamppu (HH) | Berg | Anitra | Darja | Ina | Nuudles | Nuppu | Axa (Rescued dog) | Helge (HH) | Arkajalka | Maija | Theta | Bea | Hertz (HH) | Raija | Xena | Euler | Rira


The adopted dogs below are listed in chronological order with the most recent to leave us at the top of the page.


Lassi. Born 2006 & Felipe.

We don't often allow our dogs to go to homes we don't know. But in Filipe and Maria's case, they were good friends with Doris Kallen, whom we know very well. Indeed, it was her adoption of Comet that prompted their interest. All of us were even more unsure, however, since their request was for one of our very shy dogs, and he would be going to a home in which the owner was the director of KISC - one of the world's big international scouting centres. However, Doris reassured us that she had chatted with them about Lassi quite a bit and that their home (maybe so long as he wasn't at the camp too much at first) would be a good fit. They already had a small dog - something we thought would be critical for Lassi's adjustment - and of course, Comet would be nearby, so he wouldn't be totally out of his comfort zone.

Lassi is a quiet dog who doesn't ask much of anyone, human or dog. He and Nanu created an unusually strong bond which meant that they would spend the days sleeping together on Nanu's kennel. Indeed, we re-arreanged all of the circle posts on the left hand side of the farm to make this possible because it was so cute! He moved into the retirement fence in 2016-2017 and proved equally easy there, and although Nanu missed him, we thought that the benefit of the greater room to explore with his old buddies was more important for Lassi. We hope that he will enjoy a sofa and more attention even more.


Miyagi. Born 19th June 2011 & Alva Alfredson.

Mr Miyagi was, according to some the guides, the most stupidly adorable dog to ever live in Hetta. He was one of those dogs that managed to tangle himself in the most impossible ways, to trip over himself and to fall from sofas. He also did the most incredible 'Alas' (Down command) where he would jump in the air before hitting the floor so he could have us in stitches. He is a dog that it’s hard not to like, and he certainly loves people. This big-eared husky was, however, never a very good sled dog.

Even as a chubby pup, he would trundle behind all of his siblings on the morning runs and have to be poked up the backside to keep up (and then, rather than go faster, he would effectively stand his ground and growl!). Later on, once he was put in a team, he over-ran the leaders since he was all power and no brain, with big ears and big eyes. He was also pretty volatile with other dogs when young, so he was 'put to the chop' to see if it would calm him down. He did mellow and his crossed legs when lying was a clear throw-back to his gentle mother, Maya, who retired to a castle in Switzerland.

In the season of 16-17, at the age of 5, he decided that a different life would for sure suit him better. Luckily for him, a guide from Sweden fell in love with his goofy personality and decided to take him on. Miyagi is super cuddly and loves attention and lots of food but was castrated because he could be a bit aggressive towards other dogs. He is much better now, but still sometimes snaps out of excitement. Although this confuses some other dogs, he means no harm and compared to most house dogs that are used to ruling the roost, he is defintitely a piece of cake, still, around other dogs. Hence, we were quietly confident that he would get on with the family's male Shetland Sheepdog male when they visit the Swedish west coast, despite Miyagi's lack of social competence.

Even though Miyagi is a bit lazy and could sleep all day, he set off on a 'long walk home' to Southern Sweden with Alva when she left. They both hoped that it would be the first of their many adventures. Alva was crossing her fingers that Mr Miyagi would like to be around horses since Alva she spends lots of her time in stables and intended to work in a horse stables once home.


Pikkis. Born Jun. 2004 & Sami Nummila (Southern Finland).

Pikkis is a fluffy Alaskan husky who probably has a bit of Lappish dog in him as well as - according to some - some seal, since he looks so aquatic. He is calm, friendly to human and dog alike and so trustworthy and dependable that he was always one of the dogs we used to run beside pups in their first mad outings. He would just minds his own business and help them to settle down. He is also very relaxed with people and great with children as he doesn't jump up. In terms of being ready for retirement, Pikkis was one of those great dogs that would have wanted to run forever. He and Kous Kous made this great old age lead pair in the 2015-16 winter, running up to 30km safaris, at the grand old age of 12 (which is pretty incredible), despite having been classified as 'retired' at the start of the season. In the 2016-17 winter, without a similarly steady and experienced dog to pair him with(KK was adopted that summer), we didn't let him push his limits so much and put him on a much more reduced program with targeted massages post run. However, he was still great for his age. He gets most lively, around feeding time and otherwise was generally pretty content hanging out in the oldie fence or simply taking siestas. This old boy was always a firm favourite of the guides and we all are a little jealous of Sami who will get to spend great one-on-one time with him in his final years. In 2016 he became the father of Venla's Mountain pups. Both he and the illustrious Leon got 'given a shot' but Pikkis hit the home run it seems. (Hence, he was clearly as virile in his old age as he was spritely).


Comet. Born: 10th Nov. 2008 & Doris Kallen (Kanderstag, Switzerland): Adopted April 2016.

Comet was the first pup that Princess gave birth to and he looked quite a lot like both his mother and his uncle, Cloud. Unfortunately, he inherited some of his uncle’s grumpy disposition with other dogs too. Fortunately for Comet, Doris first spent time at Hetta Huskies in the summer months and didn't totally believe how his personality changed when running. He became one of the most perfect GEE HAW dogs on the farm thanks to her time and effort but it was not something that we could ever reliably utilise since he was too untrustworthy with those in the team behind him, when running. And he never looked like he loved it. Hence, when Doris finally said she was ready to take him and we realised that we had a chance to send him to her with Stefan, overland, we decided he could retire a little earlier than normal and have a much more enjoyable (for him) life with her in the oft-talked-about Kanderstag! We look forward to some incredible photos from his future adventures.


Lotta (Born: 14th Jan. 2006) & Danny Bliss & Family in Cambridge UK: Adopted April 2016.

Lotta was one of those one-in-a-million sleddogs. We rescued her, and her brother Kravitz, from another farm who would have put them down when they finally started to get a bit slower and Lotta lived c. 5 years working with us on an almost-normal running plan, despite her ever advancing years.

(Hendrix, her sweet brother, is still looking for a forever home).

Even in her 10th year, Lotta was so good that we used her in Norway in the end of season Children's 'Barnas Finnmarkslopet' race against some of the best racing dogs in the Alta region and she pulled the younger dogs with her through horrendous broken ice and overflow with dedication and without hesitation for 20km each day.

In her 11th season, she ran up to 36km per day and only slowed down towards the end of the season, stating quite clearly that she was ready for some sofa time. Her eagerness to run meant that on the farm she was a bit of a cage chewer in the summer months - so much so, in fact, that we generally had to position her and her frequent cage mate, Nea, in cages out of sight of the clients since it was hard to keep up with fixing the problems they caused. Luckily that did not deter the Bliss family who not only managed to spot her at the back but also to fall in love with her during a couple of safari and evening feeding visits in the winter of 2017.

Lotta was speyed whilst with us, which meant that she was often used as a cage-training companion for difficult males. She won't miss that aspect of her life in Hetta, for sure!

Lotta and Comet were taken South by Stefan Durig towards their new homes in the UK and Switzerland, respectively, in the Spring of 2017 and she was then picked up by the Bliss family from Zurich. We hope that she very much enjoys her unrestricted soft sofa time with her new family who seem to adore her.


Kouss-Kouss (Born: 13th Sep. 2004) & Jamie Dulligan (UK): Adopted July 2016

Jamie, a 2nd-year intern, decided to take Kouss-Kouss (a Métis Laika nenets-Husky) with him almost 'last minute' when he left at the end of the summer. It was a surprise to us in many ways (or we would have probably used him to part-father the 2016 pups!) since he was so old that we thought he had missed his chance to find a forever sofa. Added to which, he was due a complicated eye operation because of a large growth on top of cataracts that our vets were not sure that they could perform. All of those factors meant that he was less likely to be adopted - but then he was! Long the favourite of many many guides, Kous Kous was originally born in Moscow and came to us as an old man for what we thought would be his retirement years. However, he was still running (in the lead with Pikkis - an incredibly cute combination) in his 12th year and we knew that his father was still going at 16 so he has some long life genes. (Pikkis had to step up as '2nd father' to the pups in his stead). Kous Kous always liked to lick the nose of everyone he met but he wasn't so keen on other dogs. Whilst he could live with another dog, he was a large strong male and would need carefuly supervision at first until they had gained each other's trust. Kous-Kous now lives out his days in regal splendour in the house of a lady with an OBE on the national park side of Sheffield. We believe it is the perfect environment for him in his retirement years.

Drizen (Born 20th Feb. 2007) & Luke Chase (UK): Adopted May 2016

Drizen, who was one of our Taïmyr's, was adopted this May by one of our winter guides, Luke. Drizen and Luke are currently traveling through Europe, but will eventually settle down in Luke’s, hometown back in the UK. Maybe one day, Luke will return for Drizen’s brother, Patapov! You can follow their adventure, here.


Eka (born 2005) & the 'Frei' Family: Adopted October 2015 (following 2 seasons of 'working dog' level sponsorship).

The Frei family have joined us on multiday safaris in the Spring of 2013 and 2014. In 2013 the matriarch of the family fell in love with Eka, one of our shy unassuming dogs from the large dog farm where all of our first dogs came from. Eka, who actually looks very like Bono, one of our other top dogs, quietly makes it into our top 10 list of runners each year by effectively slipping under the radar and being easy enough to put with nearly any other dog and and good enough to do the longer tours.

Eka never really got to the point, with us, of enjoying human interaction but Felicitas was somehow able to break through to him and she was happy that he ran with her two years in a row. Fe loved Eka so much that she sponsored him for 2 years before finally persuading us to let him take early retirement. (He would probably have been on a reduced running plan, anyway, if we had kept him running for the 2015-16 season so we figured that, especially given his shy nature, he should have as much chance of possible of getting to the point of enjoying his new home, as possible).

(If the family ever come back for a new tour, they have to challenge my husband to a new route-finding adventure off the beaten tracks (maybe with Eka in the sleigh bag, or running freely beside the sleigh, next time, since he has entered retirement, of course)! They would prefer, however, to have less of the Princess and Chocolate prodigy in their teams next time since they apparently grumped their way around the tour in 2014. We would like to point out that their 'attitude' issues clearly come from Chocolate, their father, rather than from the lovely Princess, their mother.


Bandit (26.05.2005) & Tobias Katral (Sweden): Adopted October 2015

Bandit is a sweet girl and absolutely loves attention. She bonds strongly and loyally to those who give her attention and she will simply sit and look at you patiently until you remember to stroke her and give her gentle attention. She may be old and relatively calm but she still loves to play. Whilst she is totally house trained, she has a strange fettish for socks and blankets. And I mean WHOLE blankets. What this dog can eat and not have get stuck in her gut, is pretty remarkable! She was a solid sleigh dog when running, with a great work ethic - partially because she was always eager to please. However, she didn't like running with dogs that were too excited in line and pulled her around. She quite clearly communicated in looks that they should 'get a grip' and stop jerking her around!

Having said this, she is pretty tollerant of the excitable youngsters and doesn't get provoked too easily. When you meet Bandit she seems much younger than her years since she is still in great shape. Her short coat is easy to maintain but doesn't protect her too well from the arctic cold and when she first came to us, it was clear that she had had frostbitten nipples at one point since one remains larger than the others and is prone to refreezing. She is super grateful for constant access to a soft sofa.....just beware of those sofa covers!

Bandit's children, Mullers, Meggie, Milky-way, Mighty-mouse, Minnie and Merlin 2, were c. 8 months old when they came to us, with her, from a Kennel in Sweden that was closing down. Unlike Bandit they were super shy from the get go and it took literally months of hand-feeding to get them to put their heads through the feeding holes. Merlin 2 was the first to come out of his shell - possibly because he had an injury when he arrived and had to be looked after for a while, inside. Minnie took the longest to come around and refused to run for her first two winters. Now they are all solid little sleddogs even though they don't 'look like huskies' and still don't enjoy much attention.


Fala (20th Feb. 2007). Adopted Sept. 2015, by Gabin "Kandy Kane" Desserprit.



Arvi (2003): Adopted October 2015 by Sam Burden & Family

This old gentleman (pictured also in the header image) is beloved by every guide at the farm. He is a lovely friendly chappy who preserved his lovable nature despite coming to us from a farm which left most of the 40 odd dogs from there very reserved and shy.

When Arvi was still in the 'adopt me' section we said...'This dog is something a little special and we thought we had a forever home for him lined up and therefore he missed his chance to go a second person. We are hoping that will be a third time lucky chance for him before it is too late!

Luckily for Arvi, there was.

Sam had initially adopted Helge since Arvi had been reserved by another guide who then couldn't take him because of a change in circumstances. Hence, when Helge unfortunately passed away, a year later, we talked again about him taking Arvi. In retrospect, all has worked out well, since Helge got a great last year of life and Sam still ended up with Arvi who was definitely needing a soft sofa by this point in time, for his arthritic bones. Hopefully he has time enough remaining to both become fully house trained and to enjoy it!

Despite his age and stiffness, Arvi still loves to play and enjoys carrying his bowl around his cage. He has been a great sled dog and is looking forward to retirement within a home. Arvi totally deserves a lovely end-of-life home and would really appreciate it. He would even be a great companion for an old person since he is pretty playful but chilled at the same time and would bond with you, and give as much joy as he would get from the situation. He is a lovely friendly chappy who preserved his lovable nature despite coming to us from a farm which left most of the 40 odd dogs from there very reserved and shy. Hence, he is something a little special.


Pepe (2006): Adopted October 2015 by Sam Burden & Family

Pepe is a regal dog, who will happily lie on his back for a tummy rub any time. He is easygoing and confident in himself. He would be great with puppies, as he will play with them and help them learn manners. During his working life, Pepe has been an important leader, the highest role a dog can get in the mushing world. He is obedient, calm and cuddly. Pepe is going to make a great house dog for some lucky people although he is super curious about everything around him so he may take a while to learn to walk off-leash without wandering off.

We guess that when he was younger he was probably a bit of a handful since poor Pepe was abandoned when young at a husky farm in the east of Lapland with no explanation. We don't know his exact age but he was one of our top pulling dogs still in 2012 and we just eased off on his mileage by putting him in the old dog category after that 'just in case'. He isn't a handful at all any more....unless you think that a super loving dog who will nudge you for cuddles and tummy tickles is a handful!

Not content with taking ONE sleddog, anymore, Sam's mother had been lured into a sense of false complacency (maybe) through her experience with Helge, and suggested that this time they take two dogs to be companions to each other. Clearly Pepe's photos on the 'adopt me' page were pretty irresistable so we broke up the Max and Arvi running fence combination and sent, instead, Max and Pepe to the UK in the care of Justin, a guide who was unfortunate enough to mention that he would like to return to the UK for a week, to help his mother move house! No sooner said than done, he was being waved off at the Kiruna station, with two large dogs in tow. Apparently the journey was peaceful enough apart from a missed slow overnight train in Hamburg which meant that Justin, Pepe and Arvi spent a night in a doorway surrounded by thousands of refugees. Bizarrly the dog's water bowl was emptied and €20 of change was put into it overnight, so that bought them all a nice breakfast for the continuation of their journey!

We look forward to news about their next adventures.


Bernie (20th July 2007) with Flavia Brinkmann and Patrick Lang. Adopted in March 2015

Bernie came to us from a racing kennel in Sweden along with his brother Much and Monty (who was somehow related) when they were all around 4 or 5 months old and Lizzie, who was already middle aged at that time. Pasi picked them all up on the way to get Anna from Kiruna airport and she arrived to a car full of wriggling boys and Lizzie who had already taken over her seat.

They were all part of our original 12 dogs and therefore it was with huge mixed feelings that we gave him away. He would often run (and cuddle with) his brother Much, in the winter teams and we have many a great photo of them almost covered by snow, limbs entwined, whilst waiting for clients on the starting line. Unlike Much, however, Bernie decided fairly early on that the life of a sleddog wasn't the optimal one for him. He also developed some pretty strong dislikes - for instance to Chocolate and Jupi, with whom he couldn't even be in the same team. We kept waiting for him to the show the same potential as his brother who was consistently one of the best pulling dogs on the farm but we also had a feeling that Bernie (a taller dog than Much) might have slightly stiff hips.

We tried many combinations with him over the years and he ran best when paired with Starsky. However, his true love was of reassuring cuddles and time on the couch alongside a trusted human and he had become a very respectful and gentle dog towards humans once he had grown out of his boisterous teenage phase.

Flavia and her partner were travelling through Scandinavia and interested in a husky young enough to have fun running and biking with them, so Bernie was one of the obvious options and when they expressed most interest in him, I couldn't really say no, thinking about the life he could have on a sofa and maybe even running free in a forest compared to the life of a sleddog to which he wasn't optimally suited. Bernie is generally cautious with new people for about 5 minutes and then turns into a cuddle monster. He is fairly good at the basic commands but super hard headed so a little challenging to teach despite a clear food focus. He will want quite a lot of exercise compared to a normal house dog to feel happy but he will be happy on the couch in between. He has never been bikjoring so it will be interesting to hear how he adapts to this new life challenge when it comes.


Justus Gerlitz & Hamppu

Justus and his girlfriend Katarina started volunteering at the farm in winter season 2010. Katarina was with us for a few months but Justus was just here for a few weeks. During that short time, Hamppu, with his classical one blue and one brown eye and distinctive appearance, managed to capture his heart.

Hamppu had been diagnosed with a heart condition in 2009 at just 4 years of age after refusing a number of times on the start line. The vet gave him just a couple of years to live but he is still going strong! He is actually one of our biggest dogs and looks quite a bit like a wolf.

He was pretty shy when he came to us but in many ways, he is like a new dog— he may even wag his tail, nowadays, when you approache him, (in the hope that he will get a chance to spend the night on the sofa), and, if he does let you 'in', he loves to be scratched underneath his chin.

Luckily for him, Katharina and Justus are now moving to Eastern Lapland and, once set up, plan to take Hamppu away to a new home.


Anjuska (2004)

Anjuska was still energetic and bouncy even when retied. She was well behaved although she could become very excitable in her enthusiasm to see people. Despite being a big dog, she was great to have inside and she loved curling up with people or dogs and having a good snuggle.

Anitra (June 2008) with Rasmus Bejder and Kaisa Sipola. Adopted in October 2014

Anitra, born June 2008, is a tiny, sweet, friendly dog, who gets on well with people and with other dogs. She was training to be a lead dog, but, as with many dogs from the Valimaa farm, she had a recurring cough which meant that she had to be on a low dose of medrol (basically like doggy asthma medication) daily and needed to come inside on the coldest days. Hence it was great when Rasmus and Kaisa decided that they commit to taking her since she will definitely benefit from living indoors and we are sure that she will make a lovely companion pet. Lorin in particular had a hard time letting go of this little favourite. She had even looked into the cost of taking her back through quarantine into Australia but it was pretty prohibitive but Rasmus said all the right things when he picked her up, so she was relieved at the thought of Anitra going to a friendly forever home.


Darja (2003) with Eline and Petri Niemi. Adopted in Autumn 2014

Darja developed a hernia which was operated upon in Spring 2014 but unfortunately popped out, again, after recovery and the vet said that it wasn't worth operating on it again. Hence, she wouldn't have survived long if we had left her in Valimaa under new management because of their and Transun UK's / Santa Safaris's policies. Hence, we were very happy when Eline and Petri agreed to take her in, after marriage. They had previously fostered her for a period of months when still at school so that she had the care she needed to have the hernia popped back in, as often as possible. The vet believes that she could still run for fun so long as someone was keeping a careful eye on her hernia, but that her days on a husky farm where there are high fitness demands, are done.

Darja is a laid back and friendly dog despite looking like a Doberman with a strange ('Darwin') overbite. She was a great leader in her day and her puppies have also gone on to be good runners. She is very used to being indoors and loves to snuggle up with people. The last time she was inside she bonded so strongly with another old dog called Maija (now retired to Switzerland) that she would cry every time Maija left the room and she would strain at her leash to be able to follow her around the house. She is probably amazingly happy, therefore, about the concept of having a forever home with Ina since she is so similar a dog to Maija. Eli and Petri's only complaint about Darja is that the only time she pulls or seems excited when on a walk, is when she is approaching, once more, their front door! The sofa is definitely the place she wants to be!


Ina (2004) with Eline and Petri Niemi. Adopted in Autumn 2014

Ina is a gentle giant who was in a really bad condition when we inherited management of Transun's Vailmaa farm, with huge ulcerating sores on various parts of her body. We biopsied them but weren't sure that they weren't infectious and so the poor gentle old lady lived many weeks isolated in a small cage in our dog kitchen as we fought to bring her back to health. Her gentle and loving nature never wavered, however, and she dealt bravely with all of our attempts to get her system back under control. When better she ran gamely in the lead although her advanced years meant that she didn't do so at the same speed as some of the youngsters. Maybe because of that, she had a few scraps with others and also some standard old lady problems with lumps and bumps below her nipples but for her age, she went into retirement (since she wasn't suitable to leave behind in Valimaa) in remarkable health. She showed a strong attachment to Darja whilst waiting at our farm for her forever home and luckily for her, Eline remembered the place and situation she had been in and how gentle and loving a giant she has always been, throughout, and offered her a forever home (to also try to encourage Darja off the sofa a little more!). Ina is pictured, below, with a little dog called Netta who was another 'reject' from the SS farm.


Nuudles (2007) with Tobias Katral (Sweden). Adopted in Autumn 2014. RIP.

Beautiful Nuudels, sister of shy Nuppu and mother of Euclid, Euler and Eureka was a good lead dog. Unfortunately, she didn't have the kind of characteristics respected by the person who took over the management of Valimaa farm after us and they couldn't be bothered to medicate her relatively mild doggy asthma so they wrote her off with a death sentence date unless we could find a new home for her in time (but not unbearable and nowhere near as bad as, for instance, little Britt before she became a house dog and came off meds completely) in cold wet weather. Luckily Tobias, who had earlier rescued Raija from the same farm, came through. We knew that she would fit in well to any new home because she is so beautiful and friendly without being at all boisterous. She knows she is gorgeous, so she will simply lie down and let you come to her for a pat. And, since she only has issues running in the type of weather / temperatures that asthmatic humans would find difficult too, her doggy asthma won't get in the way of her sledding, skijoring or running as much as her new owner could possibly want. And in the end she will have lucked out, since she will no doubt enjoy her life on a comfy sofa more than she would have done a life in a farm where the health of the dogs is not a high priority.


Nuppu (2007) with Andrietta Stackenland (Sweden). Adopted in Autumn 2014.

Nuppu is Nuudels’ sister and they are also best of friends. Nuppu is beautiful and a good runner, but not when surrounded by lots of people. Like her sister, she is prone to colds and get coughs in winter. She loves being inside with the guides, although initially she is very shy (often hiding behind her sister), but soon enough she will start nudging you for cuddles. If left outside she needs a low dose of Medrol to keep her cough at bay but she may not require this if she becomes a house dog. Nuppu, unlike her sister, hasn’t taken so well to mushing and big hoards of clients frighten her. I think she would be a lovely companion dog to a patient family without too many boisterous children - and ideally with another dog if it can't be her sister, Nuudles - who understand how much gentle love and attention she needs.


Axa now with Tiina Pulska. Adopted in Summer 2014.

(Update) Originally adopted by Heli Markkala in Summer 2014. Axa is now her new owner - Tiina Pulska

Axa was a 7year old Lappish reindeer dog who came to stay with us for a while when her owner, Iris, from the IRESA kennel for Lappish reindeer dogs in Swedish Karasuando, died suddenly and left her without anyone to care for her, long term since her only relative lives in Kenya. We said that we would take her and look for a new home for her so that she didn't have to be left alone and being looked after by a neighbour. We soon found two people (within a day of each other) who were interested in giving this lucky little dog a forever home - we wish it was so easy to find homes for our lovely huskies! Heli Markkala was the first to express interest and therefore that is where she went, to live in a large sized Finnish family as her forever place. If it doesn't work out for Axa there, (but we think that it will), she has a place waiting with Tiina Pulska who already had Axa's sister and neices.


Helge with Sam (UK) Adopted in Late Summer 2014. DOD Spetember 2015

Helge was always happy and social. He loved to wag his tail and we were warned from the minute he came to us as a 'rescue' from a German sleddog owner (alongside White, Hulda, Bandit and her pups, Leon and Jani), that he would escape at every chance he could get. Hence, we were always a bit wary of running him loose but hope he settles well into his house dog role for his last years. He would bark and run to your legs so that you would put him and loved nothing more than to snuggle. However, at night his bizarre behaviourisms came out since he would spend the night on his belly pushing himself from one side of the bed to the other. To say that it was extremely annoying would be an understatement. However, Sam knew what he was getting himself into before taking him and I guess the fact that he had been in the house in an enforced (ie we couldn't give up) length of time just prior to Sam's arrival had reduced his evening escapades sufficiently for his otherwise sunny character to win Sam over. As an adult he was a pretty solid and (for Anna at least) very dependable GEE HAW leader, even if he wasn't great at holding the line out on stops (particularly with Hulda). He was originally named after a female dog who was killed at the S. Pole during the Amundsen expedition at a point when only 17 dogs re-mained alive from the 97 starters. (By the time he returned, only 11 were still alive). Unfortunately Helge passed away in September 2015. But it was nice to see him spend his last year enjoying his retirement with Sam in the UK.


Berg

Berg is beautiful. There are no two ways around it. But, like Ronnie, he has a maximum distance and a maximum speed. He was left at Valimaa when we stopped working there but apparently was one of the lucky ones that made it to a new home (somewhere in Sweden) vs simply being put down.

Arkajalka with Myriam (Vancouver, Canada). Adopted in early Summer 2014

Arkajalka is very shy. He lives with his cage buddy and can run with easy dogs, but finds client season overwhelming with all the noise and people. He would do well with having a family and people he sees on a regular basis to build trust. He would need lots of socialising but he has improved a lot, and we can picture him being an awesome house dog and good with kids.


Maija with Gregor Frei & Livia (Switzerland). Adopted in Spring 2014.

Gregor has taken part in two of our multiday safaris with his family and Livia took part in her first, with him, in 2014. Livia naturally gravitates towards the shyer dogs in need of more attention and doesn't like, so much, the boisterous ones whose anxiety to run causes them to fight with others. When she returned from her safari we introduced her to Maija, born approximately in August 2002, an old 'lady' in need of a new home. Maija was a great leader in her heyday, and had a final surprise litter of seven puppies when she was quite old (all of whom are much beloved by Doris Kallen and other HH guides of her era).

She’s a lovely, laid-back house dog who likes nothing more than lying flat out on the sofa keeping you company. She deserves a life of comfort. For many weeks in the winter of 2014, she passed her days on our sofa alongside another old lady, Darja, who was recovering from a hernia operation. However, moving in and out of our house across our slippery floors proved too much of a challenge for Maija and she found it increasingly difficult to stay on her feet. We concluded that the best thing for her would be a life with a little less sofa and a bit more gentle exercise to keep her muscles and joints working well.

We were pretty surprised when Gregor and Livia said that they were going to come back all the way from Switzerland to see fi she would get on with their dog, a 2year old husky called Snow. Luckily they seemed to get on with each other fine and Maija coped well with the car journey back to Switzerland although we predict some territorial battles over the sofa in the weeks to come!


Theta (now Naali) with Leah McFail & Steve Matthew (Colorado, USA). Adopted in Spring 2014.

Leah and Steve stayed with us for three months in the Autumn training season of 2013. Whilst here, they fell in love with Theta and decided to take her back to the States with them when they completed their two years of travelling adventures. A quick pop back to Helsinki saw them meet up with their best friend from their time here - a veterinary student called Emmanuelle - who was kind enough to take Theta south for them - and then she was whisked away to a new world and a new life. I don't know what it is about these wee pups of Bea's, though, (who used to also be known as Beta) but both of their new owners changed their already beautiful mathematical names. Theta is now called Naali since they throught that she resembled a fox in the way she bounds and pounces after toys and balls, in how she looks after a bath, her intelligence and even the way her ears swivel. Hence, they re-christened 'Naali', which means "Arctic Fox" in Finnish.

Leah wrote a press article about her experience during her 2 year round-the-world 'workaway' experience, and about how she fell in love with one of our huskies and ended up taking her home to the US.


Bea & Nadia Westernberg (New York, USA). Adopted in Spring 2014.

Bea (Beta), born May 2009, was mother to Theta, Zeta and two other little pups that Ciara and Hamish tried to save, but couldn't. All were vertically challenged but super friendly little dogs - with the operative word being 'little' - their legs were too short to make them good sled dogs and we sometimes used them as ’pups’ for clients when our normal-sized pups grew too big and strong to be used as such. Bea had been suffering from a skin ailment for a long time which various vets just said was probably linked to stress. She had a pretty horid time of it as a sled dog since, when put outside in winter, she would loose all hair and then she would have to be cooped up in a small cage indoors, instead. When Nadia first mentioned taking her to the States, after cuddling with her on the sofa and bed through a summer in Finland as a trainee guide, I thought she was mad. Surely there were many dogs in New York needing adoption? But Bea had captured her heart and her mother, Judith Malafronte, persuaded me that they were both serious and had looked in detail at the dog-emigration procedures. Hence, Nadia travelled back to Finland the following winter (2013) to both experience the running of the dogs and to pick Bea up. Everything went well - apart from that Nadia's first few days back were at -40C and it was a colder than she had expected! :)


Eve Egdmann & Hertz (Germany / Italy). Adopted in Spring 2014.

I was, without doubt, the laziest dog on the farm. I was up for sponsorship since, if I lived on any other kennel, I would have already bitten the bullet by now. I was running as a 7th dog on days when every other team had just 6 dogs in it since I was pretty much no help pulling. If a guide noticed that my line was tight, he would exclaim about the fact later in the day, since it was such a rare occurrence. I don't think that being a husky was my pre-ordained role in life! Eve thought the same and put more attention to him throughout her stay. She was impressed by the fact that even thought he was a shy, barking dog on the running circle, he stayed calm when inside the house. She understood that he might do better in a different environment and took him with her by bus and train when she left. (Interestingly, the day she was to leave, all the trains were cancelled throughout Sweden because of the cold, so we got Hertz for one extra day). Hertz is a big, fluffy dog with a great wolf-y look that is now admired by all sorts of people meeting him. He makes improvements every day and has become a calm and much loved canine companion to Eve.

Eve wrote a blog about her experience taking Hertz, one of the most shy and reserved dogs on the farm, and his transformation into a friend.

To be honest, before Hertz's complete transformation into a dog that happily walks through the Dublin streets in the mornings and 'does' the rounds for cuddles in the google office, we would have believed, as many do, that dogs that are conditioned to life in a pack on a farm can't be happy in homes. Clearly, however, Eve was the right person to disprove this myth. There aren't many people that we would have made this first step / experiment with but she showed us that the right person, with care and attention, can give a GREAT home to a dog that many would maybe consider beyond hope.


Raija with Tobias Katral (Sweden). Adopted in Spring 2014.

Raija, born Oct 2003, was a good lead dog in her day and could be let off the lead to run free since she would always come when called. She could be shy on occasion but with a bit of patience would come out of her shell and be very loving. A period convalescing in the cabin after an injury convinced her that indoors is the place to be, and she would delight in cuddling close and poking you with a paw to get your attention. When she convalesced for a while in Hetta, she showed a prediliction for eating Eliel's socks but she was so sweet that it was hard to hold it against her.

Tobiaz said that despite only having Raija for a short time, (she died that December of a mammary tumour which opened), she was the best dog he had ever had. She would literally follow him everywhere and this is pretty a trait we see time and again with the adopted sleddogs who firmly latch on to those who give them their forever homes.


Xena and Carmen (Portsmouth, UK). Adopted in Spring 2013.

Carmen (pictured rescuing Ronnie back from a safari on a snowmobile, is one of our longest serving guides. During her first season she fell in love with an old (well, at least she claimed she was old!) lady called Xena. Xena had been abandoned at the farm by reindeer herders and the thought was that she actually had some pretty good reindeer herding blood from the north in her veins. However, although she was able to run in lead (even of the first sleigh), she was pretty unpredictable and also slowing down. At one point she got injured and became a cabin dog and she seemed to adapt to that life in such vast preference to her adaptation to sled dog life that Carmen wanted to give her a sofa for the end of her days. She is still going strong on walks around Portsmouth, UK, living a life a world away from the one she probably started with, as a reindeer herding dog. If she could speak, she would no doubt have some great stories to tell.


Euler and Mark Dyer (UK). Adopted in Spring 2013.

Euler was a very pretty little pup when Mark started his gap year with us. Not surprisingly, she managed to capture his heart. His own dog Bruce unexpectedly died whilst he was with us and Euler provided comforting company. Carmen and Mark became kind of intertwined during their time here over their new dogs. She first found herself travelling overland back to here one summer in a car with his parents (who were visiting him towards the end of his gap year, having assumed that he might have been ready to bring Euler home with them). He isn't the fastest at making his mind up, though, so it wasn't until the following Spring, (2013) that Carmen once more found herself travelling the length of Scandinavia with a Dyer (Mark himself this time) as they together took Euler and Xena on trains and buses towards their new lives.


Rira, Britt and Ciara (Southern Ireland). Adopted in Summer 2012.

Ciara started the exodus of dogs to far climes when she left us after managing our Valimaa farm and taking it from its first stages (which were unbelievably harsh conditions in which to live and work) to the point at which both workers and dogs could have a decent quality of life in a very beautiful location. Whilst there, she looked after the pups of the (c. 16!) pregnant dogs which we discovered upon taking over but her favourite pup that first year was Rira. He was a solitary pup and in-between, in age, the other pups when young, and therefore he of course needed lots more attention and cuddles than the others who could get security from their litter mates. When it came time to leave, she realised that she couldn't leave him behind. However, she also saved one small tiny bundle of joy called Brit who had come close to being put down many times because of a nasty and chronic case of doggy ashthma / bronchitus. She was actually the first dog to capture my heart when I visited Valimaa for the first time and I had been sad to learn from the owner at the time that she was to be put down. And here she is, a few years and a warmer environment later, loving her runs down open beach and across the moors of Northern Ireland. Pictured here are Ciara with Rira as a pup, Rira and Riku his uncle, Rira and Brit and then various shots of Brit including one which reminds me of how I first met her, looking out full of life from behind the bars of her cage.