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The beginning

In 1991 we bought our first husky. We started with information got from the Dutch husky club and after reading their info we decided to make this step. We looked for an address in our neighbourhood, because if there should be born a litter and one of the new born puppies should be ours, we want to have a look there very often.

The kennel closest to us was Sotokaya of Nowaja Sibir owned by Tom and Sonja van Laar-Meijer, and after having got information from them we where asked to join a training and after that the decision was made definitively!

We didn't have to wait for long; from Anja Sotokaya of Nowaja Siber x High Tundra’s Blue Eye a nest was born and one of the new born puppies would be ours. We had to choose out of 2 males that where still available. Both where black and white and had blue eyes. We choose the one that was most curious. We liked to call him Bandit, but the name had to begin with an S. So we must change our plans a little bit. We decided to calle him Sno-Bandit.

snow banditBecause we lived in the forested Dutch Veluwe region and the dog did like to go outdoors, we biked a lot with Bandit. The bigger he grew, the stronger he became and biking became to be dangerous. In 1991 the Springers didn't exist yet, so with biking we hold Bandit on the steering wheel.

We discussed what to do next. We decided to watch a snow race before making further decisions. With a car borrowed from my parents (ours was not reliable enough) and without dog we went to Prägraten in Austria. At that time this was still a more days race and because of that we stayed the whole week.  

When we saw all other dogs and noticed how much fun the dogs had in the snow, we really misted our own dog ... So, we didn't hesitate: we needed 2 other dogs for joining the races with 3 dogs. At home there was enough space for that, so no problem at all. We went again to to Tom and Sonja for getting our next 2 dogs and for these we didn't have to wait long either. They had 2 nests immediately after each other and we choose to have from every nest one puppy. In 1993 we got our next dogs, Zeb and Arack, and in winter 1994 we participated with a C-team (3 or 4 dogs). We bought a new car with enough place for the dogs, because in our old car there was no place enough and the dogs had to be transported in a trailer.

Already in the first season we saw that everybody else was racing with 4 dogs and with 3 dogs it would almost be sure to be last. Another disadvantage was that in case one of the dogs would be ill, we could not take part in the race at all. So, we had to look for a fourth dog as soon as possible, again a dog from Tom and Sonja. This one was from Canadian breeding, because Tom and Sonja bought a pregnant mother dog in Canada. As a consequence we had a good basis to breed with in future. This was going on during some time and in our opinion it was not going bad at all, till we joined a race in Tiekamp and walking on the trail talked about Zeb, not being our best dog and so on …. Some other persons exploring the trail overheard us and offered us to try one of there dogs instead. It was our first female dog in the kennel and with our male dogs so far it caused some problems …. But Thessa herself proved to be a big plus, we noticed immediately the difference in speed and the fact that she listened better to our commands than we where used to with our males …. With Thessa around, the male dogs got an opportunity - that’s what they thought - to show who what the ranking was. So, we had our first fights in the kennel, but after some time the male ones understood that there was no use to argue with Thessa, because she was the boss and she decided about sympathies.

From then we got more dogs in our kennel bit by bit. At first we borrowed a dog that we did not intend to buy however, because in our opinion she was too old already. Afterwards we started buying dogs from other breeders, but we were not always satisfied about this. In 1998 we finally did the first step to own breeding, after looking and listening around carefully, in order to get to know about the ins and outs. We came in contact with Anneliese Braun in Germany, which proved a good thing for us. We did our first breeding with males got from her and we bought puppies from here as well. From category C (3 to 4 dogs per team) via categories B (5 to 6 dogs) and A (7 to 8 dogs) Richard came finally in the O category, also called the king category. This was it! We went a lot of years for this to a lot of races in Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Slovakia, etc. The results where good till very good. But you have to rejuvenate if you want to keep the results that good. Dogs that don't want to work or are not that good any more, or are just too old, must be replaced by better ones. We did, but we never sold an old dog or a dog that proved not to be good any more and we finely had 26 dogs in total. In our spare time and during races we had not enough time to train our two teams. And the snow proved not to be that good anymore as it used to be and races were cancelled more and more ….

We always wanted to do the big step to move to another country and the worse snow conditions and the cancelled races were made us take the final decision. Driving 1000 km for joining a race where you will stand half an hour or three quarters of an hour per day on your sledge? This during just two days and then drive back home 1000 km again? So, we really decided to move and we choose for Sweden: real winters and real summers. A company with our dogs! And every dog can do what he/she likes, which is running in front of a sledge and not in the Dutch mud. And we didn't have to sell dogs either. Selling dogs is not what we like, not even in case of owning a lot of dogs, because all dogs are for us as for somebody who has just one dog! We know them very closely, all little things from every dog. We know what they like, when they are happy, when they are naughty, when they are angry, when they have a bad day, etc. About our moving to Sweden and about our experience here in our new home country, about the nice things and about the less nice things, and about the dogs, about our kids, about our life and work here in Sweden, you might like to read our diary