Even though I'm still relatively young, dogs and dog sports have been a big part of my life for a long time already. Dogs have changed over the years but a love for dog sports and australian shepherds have been constant. At the moment I have three dogs at home: Wicca, Taika and Maaru. Three previous dogs have moved on to the rainbow bridge: my first dog Stella and my first aussies Dante and Dracu.
Aside from dogs my life includes my spouse Maiju and together we live in Helsinki, where I've lived most of my life. I study social policy at the University of Helsinki, and on top of studying I teach herding at Primal Sense Farm with my own company. My professional future plans are still up in the air, but for now I'm happy with the freedom of student life and flexibility of having my own company. Breeding is a hobby for me, not a career. Most of my free time is spent with dog sports, training and my dogs. My dream is to someday move a bit further from the city and get the dogs a yard where they could play.
Despite my young age, I have been training and competing in different dogsports for quite a long time. I got my first dog, a mix-breed bitch Stella, when I was eight years old, and with her I first got a peek into the world of dogs. We started training agility with her in 2002, competing in 2004 and Stella was raised to the highest class of agility in 2005. We started onedience in 2004 with me reading the rules from the internet and just teaching the tricks by myself. A few surprises awaited me in our first trial, but we did well and despite me having no idea about much and Stella ended her obedience career in the second highest class.
With Stella I got into the dog world, and I wanted my next dog to be a bit better suited for dogsports. A breed with rights to compete in the Finnish so-called working dog trials that include searching, tracking, raport etc. The first time I met an aussie was by chance outside walking. I was interested by the unusual merle color, funny short tail, moderate built and friendly and outgoing personality. So I started by reading all about the aussie and emailing probably half of the breeders in Finland and asking for puppies. I didn't realy understand the differences in bloodlines, almost all aussies in Finland were showlines, but by chance I got my first aussie from kennel Ardiente, who happened to breed more versatile dogs back then. So my first aussie Dante came home when I was 15 years old in 2005.
Dante was my dream come true and my worst nightmare all wrapped in the same cute bundle. I was completly crazed by all the dogsports and all my free time was dogs dogs dogs. We did almost everything possible with Dante. Our main focus was always agility, but in the next years we did obedience, raport, tracking, search and rescue, water rescue, herding, dog dancing, dog crosscountry skiing... Because I was too young to drive, we would travel to trainings and competitions around the country by busses, trains and rides from fellow dogpeople. With Dante I really learned about training dogs and we achieved a lot of results, were at fun camps and courses and I got to know a lot of people. I also really fell in love with the australian shepherd breed. I learned all about different lines, health, history and breeding. I was in the Finnish Aussie club's board for two years and dreamed about some day becoming a breeder myself.
In 2008 I got my much searched and waited addition to the pack, Dracu. I had very high expectations for her, I wanted a second dog for dogsports, a dog with more drive and better temperament. Secretly I also hoped that I could start my breeding program with her. Dracu has really fulfilled all my hopes and dreams, and raised my notion of a good performance dog very high indeed and also helped me know what is my idea of a perfect aussie. Dracu is my once in a lifetime-dog and. But with Dracu we were never that active in dogsports as with Dante. I got a bit tired of the dog scene with its drama and stress of needing to be successfull in competitions. Now I try to focus on only one or two venues and don't compete because titles, but becase it's fun. It's not always so easy when dogs and handlers are evaluated only by number of titles they have done.
In spring 2012 I had to do a very hard decision and put Dante to sleep. He had always been a difficult dog with aggression problems, too much guarding and very unpredictable behaviour, and it just got to a point where it was too hard to live with him. So Dracu was left as an only dog, until that fall her breeder Isabelle wanted to borrow her for breeding. I said sure, and Isabelle took her to Sweden for breeding. I was not going to take a puppy as I had just started at the University and was living in a box-sized appartment. But I could not help thinking that I had always dreamed of a blue eyes red merle girl... We travelled to Isabelle in Sweden with Dracu for the whelping, and when Dracu gave birth to that one little blue-eyes merle girl Isabelle anounced my puppy was born. So eight weeks later we came home with Dracu and that puppy that I was NOT going to have, Wicca.
Apart from training my own dogs I have completed training to become an agility instructer in 2008 and have been training groups regularly in our agility club for years. I have really enjoyed training others and learned a lot through it myself. I have been an active member of your Finnish Aussie Club and local dog club and I follow everything aussie related going on in Finland and abroad. In 2010 me and Dracu did a long trip to the USA to meet breeders, see more working dogs, watch the Nationals etc. We had a car and just drove around the country for three months visiting breeders, going to competitions etc. It was a really amazing trip, and I learned so much more about the breed firsthand. I fell truly in love with the working aussie and shaped the idea of what kinds of dogs I want to breed myself.
I have done the following courses:
- Agility instructer
- Breeders basic course
Our best achievements:
- Finnish agility championship silver in 2010 (with Dante)
- Working dog raport championship gold in 2009 (with bc Sara)
- Working dog raport championship silver in 2008 (with bc Sara)
- Obedience team silver in 2009 (with Dracu)
- Agility youth championship silver in 2007 (with Dante)
- Aussie agility championship in 2008 (with Dante)
- Finnish Agility Champion-title (with Dante)
I'm a member of the following clubs:
- Finnish Kennelclub
- Agility Sport Team AST ry
- Finnish Aussie club (FCI) Finnish Australian Shepherd Club - FINASC
- Australian Shepherd Club of America - ASCA