Blog- May 2013
Photos are a slideshow- Select the right hand side of each photo to view the ensuing photos. More photos for each day will be added throughout the month as they trickle through to me. And there are numerous videos I will get to posting shortly.
Wednesday 1st May 2013
Today was 'May Day' in Finland, an ancient Northern Hemisphere spring festival and a public holiday. Cameron celebrated May Day with his first Finnish show (Lahti Group Show) and his first time handling Asta and Nuppu!
Cameron and the girls did very well for their first show together; Asta received a grading of excellent and was awarded second place in the junior class. Nupu received a grading of very good and was awarded first place in the intermediate class. Judge Eeva Resko (Finland).
Beautiful type, a typical of breed female. Beautiful head and expression, good ears, good top line, well angulated back and front, good frame, good tailset, moves very well overall, in beautiful showing condition.
Well proportioned young female of good type, good head and expression, good ears, well angulated back and front, good frame, slightly steep pelvis, good bone structure, moves well, good coat. Very good grading due to smaller size.
Cameron then had an enjoyable evening playing with the girls and visiting the branches of 'Nuppu's tree'; the tree Nuppu oddly decided to spend much time sitting in whilst visiting Lana and Mika's house.
Thursday 2nd May 2013
Today was a very special day- the day we (or half of 'we'!) got to finally meet the wonderful Heikkilä family, who have cared for Nuppu and Asta during their time in Finland.
When planning to import a dog, the most difficult part is finding a family to mind them while they are waiting to come to Australia. Due to our AQIS rules, an adult dog from Finland needs to spend six months in it's home country prior to flying to Australia, and a puppy needs to be at least nine months of age (this is a simplified version of the rules- I won't bore you with the specifics!)
It is quite the favour to ask someone to mind a dog/puppy for this period of time. Many breeders cannot assist with this request as they already have a number of their own dogs and possibly other animals to care for. Many families are concerned they will become too attached to the dog and it would then be too difficult to say good bye.
We were very fortunate when the Heikkilä family agreed to mind Nuppu and Asta. Their extended family owns Asta's sire, Puro and the family and extended family has a long history of owning Lappies. We will be ever grateful for their efforts in caring for the girls- building a new fence, building a kennel on their patio and the day to day love and care that they gave the girls. With four young children, the girls were never left wanting for attention. Receiving numerous daily walks, weekend trips to cottages and spa hotels and copious interaction; they were in the very best hands.
It was lovely to finally meet this special family and to be able to thank them in person!
Friday 3rd May 2013
Today Cameron travelled 6 hours north, from near Helsinki to near Oulu, to visit Dagolas Kennels and collect Iilvari and Pimu. The temperature was much cooler in the north and many of the lakes were still partially frozen (they are in Spring).
Iilvari met Cameron with his exhuberance and joy, bouncing to greet him. Pimu greeted Cameron with the well known Lappie bottom wiggle. These pair are such a delight and we are looking forward to getting to know them better.
It was lovely to finally meet Miia Vääräniemi in person and thank her for her support and for allowing these four wonderful dogs to become a part of our family.
A special treat of the visit was Cameron meeting Pimu's sire, Lumiturpa Eeemeli; an influencial sire in Finland. Cameron almost tried to sneak Eemeli away with him; reporting he was extremely cuddly and playful.
Saturday 4th May 2013
While in the area, Cameron attended the Oulaisten show. The show was held outdoors; it was 4 degrees and raining! Luckily two lovely friends, Asta's dam's owner Merja Koivunen and Dagolas Bullero's owner Mervi Teerinkoski were there to assist Cam and keep him company. Cameron loved meeting the relatives and Jori (Dagolas Bullero), who will feature in our breeding program in future years. Cameron said Jori had a beautiful temperament, incredible boning and substance and awe inspiring coat.
Asta received an excellent grading and Nuppu was first in her class. The Dagolas breeders group won the breeders class. Critiques to come shortly (in Finnish, need translation).
In the afternoon Cameron travelled 90 minutes east to Kajaani, in preparation for the next days show.
Sunday 5th May 2013
Todays show was held indoors, fortunately as at times it was snowing lightly outside. Cameron reports that the FLCNSW fleece and club jackets (worn together) have been excellent during these cold temperatures- great they have now been Finland tested and approved!
I'm going to share a funny story about todays show... sorry in advance Cameron! Post show, Cameron messaged me the results.... Asta satisfactory and Nuppu very good. We were both very surprised at Asta's result, given that from all seven shows she has attended thus far she has received a grading of excellent. I conveyed the results to Lana and Mika, and Asta's 'gramdma' Anna, we were all very surprised and looking forward to having the critique translated to shed light on the grading.
Many hours later, Anna messaged with full show results, which stated that Asta received a grading of excellent and was 2nd in a class of six. Then Cameron's words came back to me, when I asked if he was sure of the results. 'Yes she was given a green ribbon' (in Finland, dogs are awarded a coloured ribbon based on their grading, green = satisfactory). It then all made sense! Cameron is partially colour blind, i refer to it as 'colour challenged'. He sees colours very differently to most, often thinking blue is pink, pink is blue, red is green, green is red or brown. So, when handed the red ribbon to signify 'excellent', he thought it was green, thus a grading of satisfactory.
We did all have a good chuckle; poor guy, showing surrounded by people speaking a foreign language and he can't see the colours of the ribbons used to communicate the gradings!
Very feminine, excellent bones. Very well developed for age. Lovely head. Correct ears. Correct bite. Excellent outline. Excellent shape of rib cage. Very well angulated. Easy side movement. Could be more stable in hocks. Excellent condition.
Very sweet. Lovely head and expression. Strongly made. Correct bite. Excellent neck. Correct topline. Could have better croup. Excellent forchest and front angulations. Too open hock angle. Excellent coat. Excellent condition.
Monday & Tuesday 6th & 7th May 2013
Some down time and time to get some administrative tasks completed. A vet visit for blood tests and tick treatment, part of the export process. A trip to the Finnish Kennel club to collect the export pedigrees (required for their re-registration in Australia). And time spent enjoying the dog parks in the area.
Cameron describes each dogs personality as:
Nuppu: So incredibly sweet and cute it could make you cry. Confident, happy go lucky, radiates fun. Loves cuddles.
Asta: More serious, still getting to know Cameron.
Iilvari: Gentle, loving, cuddly, a most adorable nature.
Pimu: Always happy, smiling and doing the typical happy Lappie bottom wiggle.
All four are getting along very well, without a single problem. Asta & Nuppu still prefer to cuddle together and Iilvari & Pimu prefer to cuddle together.
A few blury photos to the left. Perhaps it is fortunate Cameron is the handler and I the photographer!
Wednesday 8th May 2013
Today Cameron, Nuppu and Asta visited Roni (FIN CH BALTV-09 Pakkasukon Roni), a very lovely boy that Orical Kennels has frozen semen from, and will be used in the future in our breeding program.
It was fantastic to get to know this boy better; he has the typical sweet, gentle and loving Lappie temperament and absolutely delighted in receiving and giving cuddles. Roni was very taken by Nuppu and there was quite the Lappie flirting occuring during the visit.
Cameron said it was easy to see why/how he has had such a successful show career. Shown only eight times in Finland, from these eight shows he was awarded best of breed four times (including under breed specialists Saara Sampakoski and Marja Talvitie) and second best male as a junior at another two. He has an outstanding head, beautiful expression, little and well set ears, lovely compact body, such substance and incredible coat and leg furnishings.
Roni has sired a number of very special Lappies in Finland. We look forward to having little Roni's in Australia one day.
Thursday 9th May 2013
Today was Ascension Day in Finland- It is a Christian holiday that commemorates Jesus Christ's ascension into heaven according to Christian belief. Thus it was a public holiday and fortunately for us, a show was held in Helsinki.
We had previously arranged for Sofia Heikkilä to handle Asta. At age 13, Sofia is the eldest child in the wonderful Heikkilä family, who cared for Nuppu and Asta while they awaited export. Sofia particularly bonded with Asta, and spent a great deal of time caring for her, grooming her and teaching her basic commands. Sofia is new to showing and it was special to her to handle Asta in the show ring one time prior to her departing Finland. Today was that day!
And what a day! Asta was awarded a grading of excellent with a SA (meaning champion quality), first in the junior class, best bitch and best opposite sex of breed! And received her first sert (three are needed to become a Finnish Champion). All at the tender age of 14 months and with thirty odd Lappies entered. Upon awarding Asta, Judge Elina Haapaniemi asked Sofia 'Do you realise how good your dog is?' Such a lovely comment from such an experienced judge (biography here).
It was an extra special moment as Asta's grandfather, Lumiturpa Eppu, was awarded best of breed.
1 year old black with tan markings, very beautiful, smallish junior female, excellent type, correct proportions, beautiful expressive female head, good bite, ears well placed, good soft lines, sufficiently angulated both front and back, slightly short tail, moves with an excellent step.
19 month old small sized female, seems a bit low. Very cute, expressive head, slightly large ears, good bite, adequate bone structure, fairly wide at the front, sufficient back angulation, moves well.
Saturday 11th May 2013
Cameron and Mika travelled a few hours north to the Pöytyä Group Show today. Judge- Esa Ruotsalainen. Entries- 30 odd (apologies for information that is vague in parts, will update later as I know full info).
Asta continued with her amazing success and was awarded ERI SA JUN1 PN3 VARA-SERT- Excellent, first in junior class, 3rd best bitch & reserve sert. Critique:
Excellent type, muzzle is still a bit delicate, the frame could still strengthen, correct ligament and bone structure, sufficient angulation, coat not at its best, pleasant behaviour.
Iilvari did incredibly well at his second ever show, being awarded ERI SA AVO1 PU4 VARA-SERT- Excellent, first in open class, 4th best male, reserve sert. Critique:
Excellent type, head with correct expression, sufficient frame, front could have stronger angulation, correct ligament and bone structure, good coat, balanced movements, calm performer.
I don't have Nuppu's full results, but know she was graded very good. Critique:
Excellent type, just on the lower limit in size, head has correct expression, good frame and ligament structure for her size, could angulate better, good coat quality, moves with a slightly short step, could be more secure with her tail.
On a separate note- today I arrived in Budapest! I have a couple of days sightseeing before Cameron and the four dogs arrive late Monday evening.
Sunday 12th May 2013
The final show in Finland! The he Royal Canin Helsinki International Show. Judge- Saija Juutilainen.
Excellent grading, SA, junior of breed and 2nd best bitch! Asta beat some accomplished champion girls that I adore to take second place- simply amazing what this young girl is accomplishing in her home country! And she received her second sert! If Asta were to remain in Finland, she would simply need one more sert after the age of two to become a Finnish Champion!
Critique coming soon.
Grading of excellent and second in the open class. Critique coming soon.
Grading of very good and second in the intermedate class. Critique coming soon.
Monday 13th May 2013
Cameron and the four dogs have departed Finland and are on their way to Budapest where we will meet tonight.
It is a bitter sweet moment, happy that in leaving Finland they are another step closer to Australia. But sad for this to be the end of this wonderful chapter. Throughout this process, many people have empathised with us, saying it must be difficult waiting for them to arrive in Australia. Truthfully, it has been a delight. In many ways I'm thankful that the AQIS rules required them to spend this time in Finland. We have learnt so much more about the Finnish showing system and the feedback from Finnish judges, including breed specialists, is incredibly valuable.
And even more special are the friendships we have developed with the people who have been a part of the journey- they are so precious and will be life long. It is simply amazing the incredible generousity and spirit of people. I am amazed thinking at all so many have done to assist us during this journey.
I need to acknowledge two extremely special people who have been an integral part of this journey. Lana Theo and Mika Laakso. They have been with us every step of the way; before Asta was even conceived. They have followed every step, celebrating the highs and supporting during the lows. I cannot begin to describe how much they have done for us; the support, the education of so many Finnish ways, the friendship, the enthusiasm, the work in entering shows, grooming, showing, paperwork, vaccinations, blood tests, liaising with government vets, their hospitality, the travelling, the working to fix the inevitable problems and the care and love they gave Asta and Nuppu.
I know they love the girls like their own; Mika and Nuppu in particular have a very special bond and it was difficult for him to say goodbye to 'his little princess'. I will never be able to adequately express my gratitude to them in words. I love that through this process we not only acquired four amazing Lappies, but lifelong friends. And Asta and Nuppu left a special paw print on their hearts it would seem, with Lana and Mika, previously Samoyed people, being 'converted' to Finnish Lapphunds! (I can hear Lappie people chuckling and saying 'of course!')
I am ecstatic to finally be meeting Nuppu, Asta, Iilvari and Pimu tonight. But there is sadness that their time in Finland and the associated journey has come to an end.
One chapter ends, a new chapter begins...