Reijo loves animals – and the animals love him
While exploring the forests and fields surrounding his childhood home in Finland, Reijo, as a small boy, was already observing and making friends with a large number of various animals. The very first pets he came home with, were a tamed crow and a
squirrel. Later on, followed by a rabbit with a broken leg that was in need of nursing.
Luckily, he grew up on a farm with plenty of opportunities to study animal behavior. Reijo built a running wheel for the squirrel, a pool for the ducks in the yard. The rabbits took care of the lawn mowing. A successful experiment was done to prove that a crow, indeed, is willing to brood chicken eggs. There were 30 rooster babies hatching on the day. Understandably, Reijo’s mother was not overjoyed with all these flying and furry friends, inside and outside the house. But his parents allowed it since Reijo was the one taking care of all of them.
Later, he got his first dog and there were many more to come.
In his youth, Jack London’s books inspired Reijo to find out more about life in the northern wilderness. Particularly, the Siberian Huskies caught his interest and fueled his imagination. Finally, in the 70’s he bought his first husky, a female called Tigaran
Atsuko. A short while after that he was already racing in sled dog competitions within Scandinavia. In 1979, he toured North America and had the opportunity to meet Dr. Ronald Lombard, an eight-time World Champion in sled dog racing. Reijo brought one male dog with him to Finland, Igloos Pak’s Candy, which was one of Lombard’s lead dogs. From Norway, he found a female husky with 50% of the same bloodline, and another male dog from Finland. This was the beginning of Reijo’s own breeding
lineage: Polar Speed. It was also the beginning of his success in his sled dog racing career. With his new team, Reijo won the Nordic Championships three times in a row and became a well-known personality in the sled dog racing community. During the
following decades, he was taking part in various competitions in the Alps and in the Pyrenees mountains. Today, he still continues breeding purebred Siberian Huskies, and strongly believes in their ability to be the best sled dogs in the Nordics.
Animal training – following nature’s own methods
Animals inherit a basic set of behavior. However, most mammals learn from role models to be able to adapt to their surroundings and stay alive. This is very true, especially for herd animals like wolves. By simply observing various animals for decades, Reijo and his staff have been able to adapt this training method to all Levi Huskypark’s animals. They prefer using old and skilled animals to train the younger ones. The common practice in the field of animal training is to separate the babies from their parents at a very young age. However, this is not the preferred method in Levi Huskypark.