How it all began
It all started out with Berny. I was 15 years old and I absolutely wanted a dog. My father was very afraid of dogs, my mother a little bit. My mother especially didn't want to end up caring for the dog once the kid got tired of it.
So we made a deal that I had to care for Berny all alone. With possibility to be helped out now or then depending of my course schedule at school, but that's it. I found Berny accidentaly: a little, cute looking dog, 4 years old, house broken and know to stay alone at home. I was looking for a new home because de parents of the girl to who he was (she was my age) were divorcing. I knew that with my father I better not hope for a puppy so I said: "I'll take him!"
And he was really perfect for us. But still a real terrier: very intelligent, affectonate, stubborn as a mule, very gardian and a big hunter. Further he wasn't very sociabl and wanted to fight every male bigger than him. Ok, he was rather big for a yorkshire (8kg) but he was still a small dog!
Berny came with me everywhere and we did lots of running, cycling, hiking and lots of walks (I went everywhere on foot). He came with me to restaurants, to family parties and to vacations.
But I have always had a passion for huskies. From the begining the husky was for me THE perfect dog. A natural and hardy dog, smart and intelligent, independant and curious. Who likes to find out as much as I what is lying behind the next road bend, the next hill, the next valley.
Neither when I lived with my parents nor during my studies I was able to make my dream come true. I didn't have enough time for it. Nevertheless we started to visite Valérie du Retail of Léva-Nève kennel in the french pre-alps (Vercors) who I found on internet. Her dogs caught my eye right away: true working dogs without loosing their substance and become all tangy like some racing lines I knew from Germany. And I liked a lot the "wolf" look. Once there we completely fell for these dogs who were very affectionate, open and friendly. After the first outings with her dogs in hiking and then our first sled ride with a 4-dog team each came the shock: Valérie tells us she stops breeding! We have wanted to take a puppy the following year when we could finally move out to the countryside after the end of my studies in Lyon.
After discussing all the week end we took our decision: we absolutely had to have a puppy of the last litter that she was having. And this is how Daika come to us. She was a real, creazy, young dog and was in every aspect the typical siberian husky. We could never unleash her and it was absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to make her stay at home alone (with Berny). At that time we lived in a little studio appartment of 45 m2 and so Daika went to work with Alex every day. In the evenings when we were at the dojo to do karaté she stayed with the secretary of the club (thanks, Florence!). When she was 8 months old we decided to take another dog, an adult that Valérie gave us to help us all begin the sled dog sport. This is how Roots rejoined us at 8 years of age. Very calm and nice he was rather reserved with us at first but built a super team with Daika. He absolutely loved to play with her and turned out a super lead dog.
As soon as the temperature fell enough I put the three dogs into a little trailer I pulled with my bike and I rode 3km to a parc running along the Rhone river. There I hiched up Daika and Roots to the bike and let them pull up to 12km (only earth and mud trails, no concrete!). In the end I slowed down the two huskies and I let out Berny so he could also take his little walk. Than everybody returns into the trailer and back home we go.
We bought our wooden sled, tried it out with the two sibes we had and even went for a little excursion in the Autrian Alps to an alpine cabin of my grandfather. We father was on touring skis, Alex behind the sled with Daika and Roots in front and I followed in snow-shoes. We took 3 hours to get 100kg of equipement up there and stay there for one week.
One year later we moved out at last which is why we decided to take Ebi. Only two months later we got to know that Jaakko, then 11 years old, was in depression since his retirement. He couldn't take to watch the other go and run together while he had to stay at home with the other seniors. Without even discussing we decided to take him with us. In the end of the same year a friend of ours had a litter of a Léva-Nève female and a stud that I already had remarked on the stake out of a race we visited. We told ourselfs that we could use a little male power in front of the sled which is why we took Ewok. For one season Daika ran with the two oldies in 3-wheeled rig or all-terrain scooter. We have ran about every trail 15km around our house like this. The next year the two yearlings have rejoined us and we have ran as a 5 dog team.
Our aim is to have as less dogs possible in order to spend as much time possible with each of them. But to still have enough in order to be able to go sledding the two of us. That would mean 6 dogs pulling, but we will see!