From Safari Dog to Coach Dog

I recently wrote a brief update when travelling up North to Rovaniemi to pick up Skoda, a veteran safari dog from Bearhill Huskies. Time for an update!

As reported, her name is Skoda, and she is a very experienced safari dog. She is not young anymore, but our sports training is relatively easy going, compared to full-time professional safari work. We hope that we can give her a nice, active retirement home, and in return, we hope that she, along with her brother Chaika (who joined our team in the summer), can depart some of the wisdom built up during their working years.

When I was at the Bearhill’s kennel, Vallu (co-owner of the safari) noticed that Skoda had a lump in her chest, about the size of a walnut. We agreed that I would take her to the vet and get it checked out. Bearhill’s agreed to pick up the bill for the operation.

Once down South, I contacted Omaeläinklinikka in Lohja. I took Skoda for a check-up and since the lump seemed to be mobile (and thus less likely to be life-threatening), we decided to go for a direct approach and scheduled a date for removal. Last week she was operated and the lump, along with two smaller ones were removed. Everything went well in the operation.

She is now recovering. She spent the first five days indoors and is now back in the kennel. There is no sign of infection and next week it will be time to remove the stitches. By end of the month, she is scheduled to be back in training with the rest of the pack!

I would like to promote this type of adoption, especially for less experienced sleddog sports amateurs; give a home to an experienced, professional sleddog. From my personal experience working with Chaika and Skoda (we got a few training runs done before the operation), I can promise you that the dogs can teach you things you would never pick-up from a book. And your other dogs will benefit immensely from having two experienced dogs in the lead, working as intended, to learn from!

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