My daughter Victoria and I traveled to Svalbard in the fall of 2019 with a few friends. It’s a place I have dreamed of going to for a long time and I don’t regret a second of it. It’s the place where your pulse immediately goes in resting mode, when the mighty mountains approaches the flights – the air so fresh that it freezes in the cheeks. I was overwhelmed. Dog sledding was of course one of the activities we had decided to try while we were there. I`ve always liked dog sledding. The dogs barking, the speed and energy – it’s all something I love. We were well dressed that day and I had not imagined at all that this particular day would change our lives. And change is dramatically. A change I’m forever thankful for and my eyes tear up just thinking about it, because I get so happy. We were picked up by an enthusiastic and very happy guide (Jan Hvizdal) who took us out to Bolterdalen, just outside of the city. The place where 250 sled dogs lives. Green Dog. On a small hill with a fantastic view over Bolterdalen, you really feel welcome. There were so much information and impressions at the same time. The dogs, changing clothes, information about the fact that we are actually going to steer the dog team ourselves. It’s something I had hoped for, but I hadn’t dared to ask for it. The first impression with so many happy and social dogs in one place is overwhelming.
I had Victoria and a friend of hers, August, on the cart – The feeling of freedom you get by standing on that cart is something special. The kids were cheering – I stood behind on the cart and the tears rolled down my cheeks. I understood what my friend Guro had said about Svalbard. I can’t really put words to it, you just have to feel it yourself. I feel that a part of me just have to return, I’m not done exploring and experiencing Svalbard. After the trip we took time to talk to some of the dogs and puppies. We got served something to warm us up and had a nice talk with Karina, one of the founders of Green Dog.
Victoria was mainly busy with petting the dog Kai. I was mainly busy finding dogs with blue eyes. The ice blue eyes on a husky that can look deep into your soul is really something special. I knew that Green Dog had their own pensioner program for the older sledding dogs. Little did I know that we were going to become such a big part of this pensioner program. Victoria wouldn’t let go of Kai. In a weak moment inside of the cabin I said pretty confident: “You could adopt Kai when he became a pensioner!!” Victorias eyes immediately lit up. “YES!!!” In that moment I said something- but deep inside as I mom I was thinking to myself: “That is not going to happen” My profession is to breed Yorkshire terriers and I have an enormous respect for big dogs, so in my thoughts there was no way we could take such a big dog home. I asked Karina when he was ready for adoption, “next year” was the answer I got. I felt it chilling down my spine. What had I just said out loud. Was this something that actually could become reality? We left Green dog with tears in our eyes. Victoria talked about Kai nearly everyday the first week after we left Green Dog and I tried to calm her down, because I knew it was not going to happen. She mentioned it weekly, looked at pictures and asked often if we were going to go return. I sent another email to Karina about Kai. We had plans about going to Svalbard around Easter 2020. Covid-19 put a stop to that. So life went on here on the mainland. Spring and summer came and Victoria mentioned Kai a few times. I thought I should send a new email to Karina and hear about how the situation was. I got the answer that Kai actually was promised to a former guide in Sweden. Then and there my heart skipped a beat. Now I felt what I had tried to ignore. “That can’t happen, ” I thought. “Kai belongs with us”. How was I supposed to tell this to Victoria?
It had now been one year, since we met Kai for the first time. One could wonder if it was fate and meant to be that Kai would come to us; covid-19 had stopped the guide from coming to pick up Kai and Karina asked him if we could take Kai instead. The guide said yes. Then and there when I got an email that said we could come and get Kai, I started laughing and crying at the same time. I had at that time a puppy litter in my home and one of the puppies turned out to have a serious illness. I was at the veterinary office with the 9 week old puppy who had to be put down when I got the message that we could come and get Kai ASAP and that I had to give a fast reply. What could I do? I cried for the puppy, I cried for Kai. I cried and in a moment I thought I had gone mad. What in the world had I agreed on? Do we have space? Do we have time? My sense tells me that we live an active life anyway- he can join the load regardless of his size. You know – you only live once. Go ahead. Hello life. Kai came to us on a dark November evening. Victoria knew nothing. She thought we were going to pick up her uncle from work at the airport. The moment I saw in Victoria’s eyes that she understood that it`s Kai we’re going to get at the airport – I’ll never forget that. Tears of joy ran down my face. I feel that I’m completely shaken. Kai – how would we be without you? You were so welcome and were so well taken in by the small ones. The whole family has become involved in this dog. You are so nice, cute, obedient, and just the world’s best Kai. We`ve had so much fun in such a short time and I can’t imagine a life without you. Kai has his own instagram profile where you can get some insight in his fun everyday life – happytail_kai. With the Green dog family and the pensioner program, you have a community between us. I have become very committed so if everything goes well, there will be more trips to Svalbard to bring retired dogs to their new homes. Regards from Ingrid, Victoria, Kai and all of Yorkies.