Ensimmäinen ajatelma, ensimmäinen matka. Matka maailmaan, josta paluuta ei enää ole...

(written in september 2013, published earlier in facebook)



Dogs have been a part of my life since childhood. My parents had a farm with cows, calves and bulls as well as many cats and a dog named Timi. My Father loved his animals and also taught me how to treat them. He also showed me how to love and care of them.

 During my studies I was fortunate enough to be able to see great policedogs, namely german shepherds, at work. I liked what I saw and decided that one day I would have such a dog. In 2002 I got my first GSD, a bitch named Late. I trained and trialed with her in tracking as well as search and rescue.

 Late was my first but not the last GSD. After her came Buddy, Pauli, Fira and Elli. I trained and trialed with all of them in working dog trials. Fira was also my partner at work as I did a year and a four-month-long stint at the Finnish Police Dog Academy. As of now Pauli is my search & rescue dog while Elli and I compete in tracking.

 Pauli has some problems with his knees and back. He's also got some autoimmune related issues that may result in the ending of his search & rescue career sooner than either him or me would like. Last fall I realized that if I wanted to continue with search & rescue work then I should get a new dog.

 I began looking for a new dog through the Internet. That's when I saw Musta. One of my friends is a member at the Finnish rescue dog organization called Pelastetaan Koirat ry. She had linked Musta's picture and story to their Facebook page. That was love at first sight. He reminded me of my Pauli in his puppy days so I was sure that this beautiful black dog was the one I had been looking for. He would become Pauli's successor. I only saw great kindness, love and confidence in his eyes. Funny as it may seem I knew just by looking at the photo that he had all the qualities of a good working dog. Can't explain how but I just felt it and I knew. I didn't see him as a poor, abandoned animal but a dog that could be what I wanted and needed. I also knew that if I wanted him to be mine I had to act quickly before someone snatched him from me.

 When Musta's picture was published in the Internet he was still living in the streets of Giurgiu, Romania. He was starved, treated bad and abandoned on an area close to the city prison. When Magda's Angels Place-team met him for the first time it was estimated that he is about 9 months old. At the time he was alone and confused and trying very hard to become a part of the pack of dogs that lived in the area. He was also sick and needed medical care.  The rescuers realized that Musta was special and included him in their "home from the street"-project.

 I made the decision to reserve Musta and offer him a home almost immediately after I'd gotten to know his story. Never mind that I already had two dogs at home. Thought if I could handle two I could as well handle three. After the reservation it took about a month for Musta to come home to me. Prior to being flown over he was dewormed and vaccinated according to EU regulations, sterilized, ID chipped and tested for six different canine diseases. He was treated for minor infections and allowed to gain some weight and get his strength back in the care of Magda. Once confirmed healthy he was issued his own EU animal pass.

 For me the time that I spent waiting for him was like waiting for my first puppy to arrive. I didn't dare to talk about him in fear that something might still go wrong. Only on the day that he was supposed to arrive at the Helsinki airport I relaxed. On the way to the airport my stomach was full of butterflies. I couldn´t even look toward Musta until after he was taken out to his flight crate. I was so moved on that moment that I really had to fight back the tears. Musta was very shy and terrified of his ordeal that I took him almost straight in to my arms and carried him into my car.  Then Musta´s new life and our life together began.

From the very beginning Musta was a very easy dog. He is brave, kind, friendly to everybody, has good nerves and is quite greedy for food. I started to train him in search and obedience and it wasn't long until he was accepted into our training group. Musta has been very easy to train and has progressed fast. I think that next summer I will be able to take to enroll with him in tracking and obedience trials. I also believe that within two years Musta will be my official search & rescue dog. In addition to training, Musta has been as a show dog of sorts, in various events and expos. Because of his friendliness to everybody, including children, he has served as a "hugging dog" at these events. In other words people have been able to greet and pet him.

 In my opinion people all over the world should use more mixed-race dogs and stray dogs for dogsport hobbies and work. I know that I am not the only one who thinks so. For example my famous colleague, the teacher of the Finnish Police Dog Academy Ilkka Hormila is also very interested in utilizing strays at work for their excellent sense of smell and other working qualities. Strays are used to using the nose and brains to survive in the streets. For the same reason their capability to solve problems is nothing sort of great. I am also very interesting in the behavioral aspect of stray dogs and the way their past affects their behavior in new circumstances. That’s why I would like to take more Romanian strays to my house, running to my fields and simple for being friends to my family.  Actually I have done it already. A bitch called Deana flew to Finland last May. Deana is from the same pack as Musta and they remembered each other when they met at my house. They seem to be best friends, inseparable. It´s nice to watch them and feel the same - inseparability for my friends, for my dogs.

I have been told: "Musta has been very lucky to have you in his life." I think that I am very lucky to have Musta in my life. He is so very special to me that I can't even find words to describe all the feelings and thoughts that he has had me go through. He is my little black dream that I hope will continue to live on forever...


p.s. Thanks to my dearest friends Tina for helping to write this story and Magda & Pelastetaan Koirat team for saving Musta. I have no words to descripe how crateful I am.