This post will make all the animal lovers go “aww”.
I got an amazing chance to collaborate with the coolest sled dog park in Estonia – Huskypark, run by the most welcoming Helle and Jaanus. Thank you so much for the opportunity! We really enjoyed our time there. I’ll try to briefly describe the whole experience and of course, please enjoy photos of some of the cutest furry creatures in the world.
Helle and Jaanus, their 41 dogs, 3 horses, a couple of rabbits and a cat live in Raja Talu in Rapla county. The place is a couple of hour drive from Tartu and even less from Tallinn but offers you the most lovely countryside experience that you could wish for. Oh, and you probably went – 41 dogs?! Yes, indeed, they are taking care of 41 sled dogs – 30 Siberian Huskys and 11 Alaskan Malamutes. Right at the gate we were greeted by two sweethearts in a mature age – both of them Alaskan Malamutes – the dogs I have been dreaming about. Alaskan Malamutes are generally larger than Siberian Huskys and they only have hazel eyes, while Siberian Huskys can have all sorts of coloured eyes, from blue to hazel. The same goes for Husky’s fur – they come in all sorts of colours, not just the usual gray and white you see in magazines.
Helle said that Malamutes are the dogs that everyone usually wants – they just look more cuddly and cute. However, people who are active and into sports usually end up taking a Husky as well. Simply because Huskys are more athletic and energetic. Helle said cleverly that in sled sports Malamutes look beautiful like old vintage cars, however they are no match against a faster, lighter and a newer model of a Siberian Husky.
But they love their dogs equally. As they do their horses. They have one large and beautiful Estonian Tori horse Hallo and two white mixed-breed horses Nukuke and Meloodia, who were very curious of us. Later we learned that they weren’t curious for no reason – they knew that part of the tour was to feed the horses with some dry bread. And oh my, did they enjoy it. Everyone got to pet the horses and soon when the bread was gone, the horses lost their interest as well and walked away to mind their everyday business.
After getting acquainted with the horses, we entered the farm courtyard where Helle introduced us to all of her dogs. All of them have a special name and their living conditions are very good. Some of the dogs were quite jealous as they did not like when someone pet their partner and not them. I guess humans experience same emotions as well. 😀 In the middle of introducing us to the furry angels they also showed us the different kind of sleighs they use – from old and vintage ones to new competition ones. Sleighs have breaks and also an emergency break and the competition sleighs have a ‘bag’ in the front. Can you guess what it’s for? No? Okay. It’s for tired or injured dogs who cannot finish the competition on their own legs. So you simply put the dog in the bag and continue your way to the finish. One can only finish the race with all of the dogs still in the team. No dog is left behind. 🙂
When the hosts started to place dogs in front of two sleighs, we got a small 20 minute break. Half of the time we spent in this cute little wooden cottage with live fire burning in the fireplace – much needed after staying in the Estonian cold for 45 minutes or so. Another half of the time we were staring at these amazingly cute Alaskan Malamute puppies who were just born in the end of last year. Apparently they thought my gloves are the national enemy because all of them tried to eat my gloves. Since they were so cute I did not even mind at all. Have all the gloves in the world if you want. PS. If anyone is interested in buying a Malamute or Husky – Hellerkantri breeding kennel is the way to go. And I think that when you are not sure what these dogs are like and what kind of personalities they have then it’s also a good idea to visit one of Huskypark’s tours to learn more about these beautiful creatures. Because getting a dog is a lot of responsibility and should be thought through properly.
It wasn’t long until the sleighs were ready – both of them having 10 dogs placed in front of it. Ah oh my, the dogs were so excited! They did not stop moving around and making these high pitched noises – as if this is the first time they get to carry this magical sled with people on it. Helle explained that it’s partly because this winter has been rather snowless and they haven’t been around the block too much. One sleigh had room for two people and the driver – they got on fast and before we noticed – they were already out of sight. The dogs run really fast! No surprise that this Huskypark is the home of the fastest dogs in the Baltics. When first people had had their turn, next two people had to jump on the sleigh real fast, before the dogs just run away with the empty carriage. They were simply too excited and full of energy to stay put for longer than 30 seconds.
Eventually it was the turn of me and my friend Merka. The people who know me, know how obsessed I am with dogs. The same with Merka. She is especially fond of sled dogs. Thus, we were super excited to get to experience the ride. And it did not disappoint! The dogs ran fast through the white and fluffy fresh snow. So fast that my hat was nearly blown off by the wind! It was really fun and one of a kind experience. I think I had a smile on my face all throughout the ride and the pictures prove it too.
When we got back to the farm, everyone was relatively tired and frozen, so the last activity of the tour was much needed. It was sitting by the fireplace, drinking tea, having some freshly baked pastries, watching sled dog videos and finishing it all off with some cookie cake. Yum! Nice and relaxing end to this active and fun tour we had. I found it really educating – everyone got to ask questions and Helle was sharing all sorts of interesting details. I mustn’t chat about everything here because you should try the experience yourself. It’s a MUST for dog lovers like me.
Also, don’t forget to check out their FB page!