Sponsoring our dogs costs a variable sum depending on the age of the dog. We try to make these sums realistic vs nominal so that people feel like they are making more than just a donation towards the care of a dog. We want them to feel that they are truly supporting that dog's care at the farm.
Having said that, we have set the price of the puppy and retired category of dog lower than that of a working dog since we feel that children may be attracted to the younger dogs (less than a year) and working dogs may be less attractive a sponsorship option overall even though they arguably need it more.
In reality, however, that is debatable. Old dogs and pups might actually cost even more than working dogs in terms of veterinary / medical needs, even if the adult working dogs definitely have higher food needs. Matsku, for instance, (one of our old retirees), used her entire 2016 sponsoship allowance on a mammary tumour operation to try to reduce lactaction and to buy her a few more quality months (or more) of life.
We are super appreciative of any and all support towards the whole-life care of our dogs.
Some of the dogs sponsored in this category are amongst our best. Others are just ones that clients and guides have fallen in love with, during their time at Hetta Huskies.
Fe Frei & family have been involved with us since 2013 as clients, adopting one of our oldies, Eka, in October of 2015. They previously sponsored our retired husky Petteri until he unfortunately passed away last June from an epileptic fit. They continued their sponsorship program with Varna & Moscow, two lovely candidates. Varna is shy with people but one of the easiest dogs to pair with running partners. Moscow is is very much like a prince, his signature stance lying down with his legs crossed and mouth curled up in a grin. To prevent him having trouble with his eyesight Moscow gets eye drops twice daily.
Nicholas, a financier from Switzerland, took part in his first 5-day safari with us in 2015. He had both Yesper and Yasper in his team and actually fell in love with them both from his very first interaction, when he went with a guide to take them from their cage. He ended up laughing out loud as they pulled him faster and faster through the farm and right at that moment, he knew that the week was going to be a lot of fun. FYI Theirs is the only cage we always send a client to, WITH a guide, with the intention being that they walk back one dog each. Most guides can't handle both of them (which is rare) and most clients struggle with even one!
Saturn is one of our 5 Pups from Matsku and Jopa who are all named after planets. Saturn’s sisters and brothers are called Mercury, Venus, Mars and pluto.(For obvious reasons, we chose to use ‘pluto’ vs ‘uranus’.) Saturn was exceptionally beautiful as a puppy. She is still a pretty adult but it is hard to get really good photos of her since she has a slightly long fox-like nose. Regardless, she is a favourite of many guides and clients because of her pretty appearance, sweet nature and love of cuddles.
Pegasos is a very useful sled dog because he can be put beside nearly any other dog and will just get on with his job without posturing or fighting. He can even run in (chasing) lead near to a strong leader if he needs to.
Patricia Leroy has been one of our longest-running dog sponsors and she inherited Pegasos following sponsorship of first Ted, then and Ruuti.
Patricia came to visit us first in mid April 2013 for a couple of days. She asked to be introduced to every dog on the farm and seemed most drawn to the difficult cases, like Ted, who had been shy since first coming to us. We explained that he was one of the most frustrating dogs overall because of his great potential in the training season (to the extent that he was one of our best GEE HAW leaders at that time) compared to his complete lack of willingness to run in the client season. We said 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.
When it came time to putting a team together for a safari, Patricia wanted to try Ted (pictured left) and, true to form in a safari with just one or two sleighs, he ran brilliantly (although he was clearly out of shape) and remembered all of his commands. Patricia decided to support him with retired dog sponsorship for which we were super thankful. Unfortunately, we ended up having to put him down after an illness from which the vet said that he wouldn't recover so Patricia decided to switch her support to either Ruuti or Max - both of whom had come to us from the same farm. Contrary to Ted, both of them had been, in their day, very good dogs. Ruuti (pictured centre) had run primarily in team or wheel but Max was probably the most consistent GEE HAW and line-out leader we had in our first few years.
Ruuti's last winter running (on a reduced plan) was the season of 2011-12. He is quite an old chap (born 2002) and once he developed pulmonary odoema (in the winter of 2013) relating to a heart issue, he was moved indoors. His hips got progressively more stiff and he lost his bark although that didn't stop him trying. His name meant 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. Nevertheless he eventually settled into life on the couch and had a particular spot that became 'his'.
Max was an awesome dog and, had it not been for a bad limp incurred during a period of recuperation following an operation for a small tumour in 2013, he would probably have been running occassionally right to the end. He was our first 'main leader'.
Tarmo - Carolyn Dyer
Carolyn Dyer visited her son, Mark, (pictured) in Hetta in the Spring of 2012. Mark was here on a gap year placement. Since Mark was in charge, at the time, of getting the 'adopt' project off the ground, his mom thought that she would try to help kickstart it with our first outside donation. She didn't necessarily want to adopt a specific dog - although if she were to choose a favourite, it would probably be Tarmo - but she just loved the fact that we try to give as good a retirement as possible to our old dogs and those who are not running for medical reasons. Hence, she wanted to give a general donation towards their ongoing care costs. Whilst here, Mark's beloved dog, Bruce, unfortunately passed away. Hence, Tarmo's sponsorship (pictured centre) was given in loving memory of Bruce (pictured right): 2005-2011
Arrow - Patricia McCormack
Anna's mother, Patricia, fell in love with Arrow when she was just a pup. Walking most of the pups was too much for her at the age of 80 but Arrow would walk quietly beside her and stop, sit and look up obediently when offered a treat so Pat decided to follow her progress through her life and give enough money to cover her food and medical bills (luckily she is also gentle with other dogs so she doesn't get in many fights).
Mercury-Mick - Michael McCormack
Anna's dad didn't want to be left out so the following year he asked us to name a dog after him and said that he would cover its food and medical bills. Unfortunately, we had already decided to name all of the pups, that year, after planets so we could't have four dogs named after planets and the fifth, named Mick. Hence, Mercury now has a double-barelled name, 'Mercury-Mick'. He is extremely loving towards humans but a little more trouble when it comes to other dogs so he suffers from quite a few more nicks and scrapes than the gentle Arrow.
Balto, Aida and Mars - Rose Charvin
Rose was a trainee guide at Hetta Huskies in 2011 and returned to help us out and see how the dogs were progressing, in 2012. She has four favourite dogs across both of our farms: Mars and Balto on our farm (although I think that Thunder is creeping in there, too) and Aida and Noita on the Valimaa farm, which we also manage, 60km away. She loves the fact that on our dogs fundamentally and always come first and she wanted to leave a donation in the name of her favourites to support the fact that we don't put a dog down just because it can no longer work so well. We tried to tell her that the work that she does for us on developing their characters and obedience each year is more than enough but we discovered that she can be pretty stubborn when she wants to be!
Dogs in this category include those retired because of old age or poor health, such as Hendrix (Andrew Parry).
Hendrix - Andrew Parry
After sponsoring Matsku until her dear end, Andrew was kind enough to continue his retired dog sponsorship program with Hendrix. Hendrix is among our oldest huskies at the farm who still runs fairly often and is in good health. From the way he pulls in line you would never believe his age, in addition to which he is an excellent dog to pair with younger, less experienced pups.
To find out more about each dog, go to the section 'Images of our Dogs'. There you can click on each image and find out some special facts about each dog.
Vivi - Freddy
I am the only puppy of two super sled dogs, Venus and Kiri-Kiri, so I am destined to be a great runner! My first attempts at running in the team with the big dogs have gone VERY well and I gallop along whilst they trot patiently, keeping the speed down for me. (But, to be honest, I am STILL so small that I prefer to play, eat and show off on the agility course.)
Hazel - George Caroline Anderson
Hazel is one of our youngest pups on the farm. She is the only girl in her litter of five pups, whose names all start with "H". Her four brothers are Hawthorne, Herbie and Hickory. All of the H-Pups are cute & friendly, but Hazel is exceptionally cuddly. She loves so much to be surrounded by people that if you dare to walk past her cage without paying attention to her, she will jump up and down and whine (a lot!) until you finally give in, and cuddle her.
Herbie - The Roossens Family
Herbie, sister to Hazel, is another one of the H-Pups and equally excitable. Currently living in a cage with Merlin 1, you will never feel unwelcome going in to greet the duo. When walking past, he loves to pop his head out of his feeding hole to say hello! He looks identical to his brother Hawthorne but is distinguishable by a pink spot on his nose.
Soda - George
Soda is one of the sweetest pups out of his litter, the S pups. He needs some extra care and attention because of his breathing problem (similar to asthma in humans), and for this reason cannot run as much as the others. However, he makes for a great companion and is always eager to play!