“And what have you done for the past two weeks?” Or “Corona can even find you somewhere in the middle of nowhere!”
On Tuesday, March 10th at 6:00 a.m. I got into the car with Mona (a friend from Germany) and we drove the almost 700km towards Alta in Northern Norway to the Finnmarkslöpet.
During this 1200km long-distance race, we wanted to look over the shoulders of the leading mushers and teams in their routine at the checkpoints. My plan was to collect useful tricks that could help me in 2022 when I want to start with my own team.
Until Thursday afternoon we drove from checkpoint to checkpoint, waited for the incoming teams behind the barrier and in between we crawled into our sleeping bags to get a few hours of sleep.
We observed processes, met befriended dog handlers and talked every minute about dogs, optimal training and checkpoint routines.
Thursday afternoon at Checkpoint Levajok we suddenly heard “Corona …, the race is stopped, because of Corona”. After the initial confusion, it became clear that Norway had forbidden all public sporting events and thus also the Finnmarkslöpet. In addition, restaurants and borders were to be closed.
Corona has arrived! High up in the north, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, at a mountain station in northern Norway, only surrounded by snow, ice, mountains and wind.
The barriers at the checkpoint were quickly taken away and everyone started to help the mushers with their dogs (which is prohibited during racing). We helped friends with taking care of their dogs and made our way back home. When we passed the border to Finland, we somehow breathed a sigh of relief.
Surprisingly, the next week was business as usual. Johanna was busy in the guest house and I had guests who joined me and my huskies for some tours. The days were filled with dog routines (feeding, cleaning, training, free running, welcoming guests, telling about our work up here, harnessing dogs, touring, coming back, supplying dogs with water and meat soup, a cozy warm-up in the grill hut with our guests and fika (Swedish coffee + cake).
On Monday, March 23rd, we understood the full extent of our current situation.
Since then, Johanna has been working day and night to sort out the situation in our company, to talk to the important people, banks and institutions and to look for plans and possibilities how we could save our professional existence. So far, state funding has not been provided for us by the country of Sweden.
Since the majority of our money has always been invested into our dogs and our livelihood is now breaking away, I have racked my brain as to how I can pay for the food for our dogs in this difficult time.
With Mona and our volunteers, Zoe and Franzi, we came up with an emergency rescue plan for the dogs: A homepage and a donation and friendship program for our huskies.
As you can see, we stuck to the idea!
And to make the whole thing more alive and to introduce our dogs to you, we started off with a photo shooting. With salmon, lots of love and patience, we staged every dog to get a beautiful photo that reflects the respective personality.
I built the website and added content, Zoe and Franzi took care of the daily work routine, we wrote texts and Mona started filming and photographing every step of our daily routines. Johanna was still concerned with our professional situation and the impending bankruptcy.
We sent the raw material for a “video call for donations” to Elise, who made this great video with her expertise and, as in the past, gave us great support this time.
When our website went “live”, we took a deep breath and toasted. Now, we just had to wait for the first feedback. A break was also urgently needed! We had barbecue outside in the sun and I finally went out with the dogs again. They had already wondered where I have actually been. I tried to explain to them that I invest every minute in them – on the computer and they have to be content with free running for a few days. I looked into big, questioning eyes.
But the moment when they were allowed to run again … indescribable!
Thank you so much for your donations! It encourages us that the work of the past days has paid off and gives us hope that we may be able to get the dogs through these difficult times.
With deep gratitude!
Kat and the 8SeasonsHuskies!