Let the dogs do the work :)
Like many people on this planet, I’ve spent my life around dogs. From the largest (Great Danes) to the smallest (Chiwawa’s and Pomeranians) to an array of many in between. And yet despite always considering them man’s best friend and always being the greatest of company. I always felt it was I, that was doing work for them. I would take them for a walk, I would get them breakfast and dinner, I would fill their bowl up with water and I would bathe and groom them.
The gun dogs never seemed to be working gun dogs and the Jack Russell never seemed capable of ratting. The ex-police dog was retired way before I met him as he probably didn’t have the killer instinct and the rest of the dog pack over the years lived a dog's life. And rightly so - they are domestic dogs and have no reason to worry about mortgages or paying one’s way in life.
And yet it wasn’t until my recent encounter with a pack of dogs did I finally see what real working dogs were like. The Cocker Spaniel that collects the dead duck for the hunters - while impressive how gently he brings the limp bird back and holds it in his mouth. Is if you would admit purely novelty value and work the human beaters could easily do if they were being honest with themselves. Truly impressive working dogs come in the form of Siberian Huskies. And it was on a recent adventure in the Lake lands of central Finland did I discover how wonderful these working dogs truly are.
Some 3 hours north of Helsinki is a working kennel where some of the finest racing dogs have lived and worked over the years. International competitions in dog racing have been won because of the grit and determination that has gone on at these Finnish kennels in central Finland. And it was here that I would come to meet dozens and dozens of Siberian Huskies who were all gagging for the opportunity to pull their dog sledge while I or others experienced the delights of dog racing for the first time in our lives. I arrived at Mc Ahon Kennel which is near the town of Jämsä, a town between Tampere and Jyväskylä city. Due to its geographical location, this part of Finland is covered in snow for a sizeable amount of time - which makes it perfect for those wishing to enjoy an array of snow activities. However, today I wanted to experience the delights of being pulled as fast as possible by some very excited Siberian Huskies.
I’m very conscious about the welfare of animals and I like to think I’m well tuned in to animals to sense if they are happy or sad and I can safely say with confidence that all the huskies I saw at Mc Ahon Kennel were in fine shape and extremely happy dogs. They were clearly well-fed, exercised a lot and were well looked after. Huskies can withstand temperatures of -70c so when I found them they were chilling out in the snow by the kennels very comfortably when the temperature was just under zero celsius.
Depending on the package you opt for will depend on how long you get to take the husky pack out with your traditional Finnish sleigh, which will most likely be covered in reindeer pelts to keep you warm when the sun vanishes and the icy wind picks up. Thankfully the day I was there I had the weather on my side so it really didn’t feel that cold. The key to staying warm anywhere is always plenty of layers and decent thermals and on the day I was there sliding around the ice, I certainly wasn’t shy about wearing as many layers as possible so to maximise the enjoyment for the day.
I only had a small taster of what Siberian Huskies were capable of, but should I want to take them for a longer excursion in the future, this option would be available direct with Mc Ahon Kennels. If you are curious what my day with the Siberian Huskies was like, do check out my video which is available on YouTube and Odysee.
To get to the Lake Lands of Finland so that you may personally go Husky racing - I recommend flying into Helsinki. Most of Europe's major airlines fly to Finland and if they don't you can get a connecting flight somewhere in Europe if you are flying from outside Europe. You are of course more than likely to be able to pick up a good deal if planned ahead. Kayak, Google Flights and Skyscanner should be the go-to websites for searching for the best flight deals. In my personal experience, my favourite place to go for European flight deals is Skyscanner. For some reason, Skyscanner works best when searching for European Flights over any of its rivals.
If you are tempted to stay for a few days in the area, you could stay in one of the hotels, or Airbnbs that can be found depending on the season. Over the years, I've had the fortune to stay in an array of hotels, apartments and various forms of accommodation while travelling. For the majority of travellers, I recommend Booking.com - yes there are hotel comparison websites such as Trivago and Kayak. However, from my years of travel experience, I've discovered both of these comparison websites do not have all the hotels, hostels and apartments listed. The reasons behind this could be some premises simply do not pay the comparison sights a fee or the reason could be something else. If you know of the reason do leave a comment below. However, I have discovered no matter what the location Booking.com will 9/10ths of the time have the most competitive deal and generally the most choice. However, if you are super keen to get the best deal- use Booking.com, Kayak, Trivago, Lastminute.com and Hotels.com in separate browser windows.
A big thank you to:
Mc Ahon Safari, Makiahontie 20, 42100 Jamsa, Finland
Written by Alex van Terheyden AKA The Wondering Englishman
If Huskies aren't your thing - maybe try Snowmobiling - Check out this article