Kris: August 2008 Archives

Ruoholahti dog park

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Hobie checked out his new neighborhood the other day, and there is a dog park literally across the street from our new apartment.

It's not the greatest dog park, and it's very industrial. The dog park is a large rectangle, but wide enough that we can play fetch without worrying about the ball landing outside the park.

One one side of the park is a street, and on the other side is a container terminal. We could actually see containers being shuffled back and forth.

The park is quite large, but it's not a park we would go to unless it was right nearby.


There are a couple of benches in the park, and while there is a path along one of the long sides, most of it is covered in dirt and grass. Hobie will surely need a bath after playing here on a rainy fall afternoon.

The park was empty when we first entered, so we took out the frisbee.

Hobie has gotten a wart-like growth next to one of his teeth. The vet in Norway said it was nothing to worry about, and that we could just deal with it the next time he was under anesthesia. One side effect is that he will sometimes bleed a little bit, but he doesn't seem to be in any discomfort.

Despite this, he ran as fast as his four little legs could carry him to play with his toy.


Despite that industrial setting, Hobie approved of the park. In fact, there seemed to be so much to smell that he was too busy to look at the camera.


After playing for a little bit, another dog came into the park. Poola, a labradoodle. She was only two, but because she was already now much larger than Hobie, they seemed to get along fine. He growled a little bit, but for the most part they were satisfied sniffing each other's butts.

She jumped around and barked at Hobie a few times, and he whined and ran around us, but it helped that we were chatting with the owner, and Hobie had to deal with this strange new creature by himself.

Lapinlahti dog park

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Hobie has checked out some more of the local dog parks. This park in Lapinlahti (the official name is Lapinlahit koira-aitaus, and the address is Lapinlahdentie 6), was a nice surprise.

It's not as nice as the Laakso Dal park, but it's much closer to downtown Helsinki. It's behind an office building and a hospital building, and about a hundred meters after the end of Lapinlahdentie.

The park has two areas, one for large dogs and one for small dogs. The photo below is of the small dog area.

Both areas have bark or wood pulp covering. The large dog area has better ground covering, so your dog is likely to get less dirty in wet weather in the large dog area.

We're usually not sure which area to take Hobie to. He's not that fond of a small hyperactive dogs, but he's not quite the size of the bigger guys either. This time we took him to the small dog area, since it had the most trees.


When we went there the dog park was empty, but that didn't stop Hobie from running around.

The small dog area is clearly marked with a sign.


Hobie was hoping we'd pull out a toy while at the park, and waited patiently for something to come out of the bag.


This is the big dog area. It's not much larger than the small dog area, but has fewer trees, so the bigger dogs can run more easily around.


Hobie takes the bus

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Since we got him, Hobie has been eating some Solid Gold. However, when he got to Norway, we had to import the food from Germany. The first shipment got lost (this was the fault of the delivery company, and not necessarily the distributor), and the second one got stuck in customs for a while. It was a major pain, so we decided to move him to Hill's Science Diet after he ate his two bags.

However, now that we're in Finland, there is a nearby store that sells Solid Gold nearby, and we decided to go there.

Since we don't have a car yet (we hope to avoid getting one), we hopped on the bus. Each way was about 35 minutes by bus.

Pets travel for free with the bus in Helsinki, nor is a muzzle required.

Hobie hopped on the bus without any problems, and fortunately it was not very full, and we sat in the very back.


Hobie sat on the floor, and wasn't very happy. Every once in a while he'd whine, but I think it was mostly to get attention, because he stopped when we didn't look at him, and kept going if we looked at him. When we got off the bus, he practically jumped out of it without bothering with the steps.

One the way back we figured out part of the reason he wasn't that happy.


He wanted a better view. As soon as we got in the bus for the return trip, Hobie jumped up in my lap (without an invivation, mind you). Although it was a little shaky, he was quiet and content.

We had to make sure he didn't get used to sitting in our laps, so after a while we put him back down on the floor, and he was already much calmer. He figured out a way to look out the door, and would sit and just look out the window.

However, when we got to our stop, it wasn't exactly difficult to get him out of the bus.

Laakso Dal dog park

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Helsinki has a large park called Central Park.

Yesterday, we took Hobie up there on a 3-hour walk. The park area is beautiful, and there were lots of people out enjoying the nice weather.

On our way through the park we passed through an equestrian center. Hobie didn't seem to care much about the horses, and was (as usual) more interested in practicing his vacuum-cleaner skills on the grass.

We also ran into a dog park there (the official name is Keskuspuiston koira-aitaus). At first it looked a little small, but we decided to check it out anyways.

The entry to a few of the dog parks we've seen have a big dog bulletin board in front, and this one was no exception.


The park had a decent area with gravel, and then a wooded area behind it. There were lots of trees, and treeroots to smell and run around. It took us about 5 minutes to walk around the dog park.

This is Hobie in the front of the gravel area.


Although there were no other dogs in the park, Hobie had a good time. He sniffed and ran around by himelf. The last shot is Hobie running around.


Although Helsinki has a lot of dog parks, some of them are a little sad. We've been to a couple that are very small, and there are no plants, just gravel and some tree trunks to smell. However, it's better than nothing, and it's probably difficult to maintain a lot of plants in a dog park.

This park, however, was very nice. The forest setting makes it much nicer than some of the inner city parks, yet it's very accessible from the nearby residential areas.

Look at the below map for how to find it.

Walk around Töölö Bay

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The hotel we are staying in until we find a place is right on Töölö Bay, between Finlandia Hall and the opera house.

Between the two buildings is a nice park, and there is a path all along the lake. It takes us around 40 minutes to walk around.

We've been walking Hobie there, and the park and area is full of life. There's a lot of runners and bicyclists there (at all hours of the day), and lots of little green areas for picnics and relaxing.

Hobie is of course much more interested in sniffing, but we have to make sure he doesn't run into the path of a bicyclist.

Most of the trail around the lake has a division that separates pedestrians from bicyclists.

At the southern end there is a small candy booth and boat rental place. We went by the little beach and shot a picture of Hobie waiting patiently for some newly-bought treats.

We couldn't resist taking Hobie out on the little pier, to see how he would react. It wasn't very sturdy, so he was a little careful, but with the lure of a treat he willingly walked along.


Scary umbrella

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Hobie has been afraid of umbrellas for as long as we've had him.

We thought that maybe his fear had eased up while he was in Norway. Oh, no.

On a walk this morning, it started raining, and we took out an umbrella. Hobie instantly stopped, his tail as far between his legs as it could go (considering it's docked), and he did not want to keep walking.


Eventually, we got him to walk between us, with the umbrella partially covering all of us, but Hobie was an unhappy dog until he noticed the hotel a few steps away. Then he walked as fast as he could to get inside.

We had to hurry up the elevator, because we know that Hobie likes to dry off his back and face on carpet. He enjoys rolling around on his back while wet. While this looks funny, I'm not sure that the other hotel guests would enjoy a dog rolling around on the floor. Not to mention that it's probably not that clean.

Hobie goes to Helsinki

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Hobie has had a relaxing year in Norway. My sister and mom have spoiled him, and he's had a wonderful time. Throughout the summer, he even occupied his own chair on my mom's balcony.

He would sometimes pace around the balcony until the chair was vacated and he could sit in it. In the below photo he's so comfy that he can barely keep his eyes open.


This morning, however, Hobie was rudely awoken at 4am. He has gotten used to sleeping in until 10am, and was too sleepy to take care of business on a quick walk. He figured something was up, and spun around more than usual (even more so considering the early hour!)

He has been sleeping more and more in his crate over the last few days, and would go there voluntarily to relax every once in a while.

The car was filled to be brim with suitcases, and Hobie in his crate. He wasn't too excited to be sitting in his crate during the drive (he much prefers to see out of the window).

When we got to the airport, the spinning turbo kicked into high gear, but there wasn't much whining. We didn't put him in his crate until the very last moment, and let him spin around the airport. He was a little stressed, but not too bad.

After checking in our suitcases, we had to go to the service counter to pay for Hobie. 30 euros - much cheaper than what we had to pay for excess luggage from Paris to Trondheim.

Hobie sat patiently for a few seconds and waited while I paid. The text at the bottom of the image means "wait here."


After paying, we had to go down to the arrivals level and hand him over by the special luggage drop-off.

Right after getting the crate scanned at a security check point, I opened the door and told him to get in.


After a second of hesitation, Hobie got in, but it seemed like he would be happy to leave the crate right away. Up until now, he hadn't whined at all. We had expected him to be barking a little bit at the airport (like he did in San Francisco), but he did very well.


However, when I closed the door to his crate he whined a little bit. Since it went pretty fast, he only did it for a few seconds, and then we were out of sight, and we didn't hear anything more.


Our flight included a stopover in Oslo, and this shows the plane. Hobie was actually on the tarmac, but obstructed by the catering truck.

We asked the cabin crews of both SAS and Blue1 to check if Hobie was onboard, but only the Blue1 crew actually checked (something to keep in mind if flying with a dog later).


The flight went well, with little turbulence.

Hobie was very happy to see us. The water I had left in his crate had spilled. I had probably left him too much water (frozen overnight, so it wouldn't spill until after he'd gotten on the plane). He was very happy to see us, but he whined a little bit, because we didn't take him out of the crate immediately, because we weren't sure if dogs were allowed to roam outside their crates in the airport.

The customs check went very well. We walked in through the red gates, and a guy popped out of nowhere (apparently there's a one-way mirror somewhere). I gave him the pet passport, and he asked if there was a dog inside there. I said yes, and then he asked if all the paperwork was in order. I said it was, and he handed the pet passport back to me and wished us a good day.

When we entered Norway with Hobie, a vet scanned his microchip and everything. I guess it's a little more lax when traveling within the Nordic countries. However, all that's required is a valid rabies vaccination and a notice in the pet passport from the vet.

We had to get a large taxi (it could hold 8 people) because of our luggage and Hobie's crate. He was whimpering a little bit, and we thought it was because there was nowhere for him to go bathroom. However, he just wanted to look out the window. As soon as he was up on a seat and could look out, he got quiet and just sat there and looked.

We have a nice, dog-friendly hotel until we find an apartment. After a good walk, Hobie could finally relax after his 3-hour flight experience.


So far, the Finnish bushes and lightpoles are very interesting, and warrant much pulling and sniffing. It seems like Hobie will adjust well to Helsinki.

Swimming Schnauzer

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Today we took Hobie to a lake in Bymarka. My sister had taken him earlier this summer, but it's been a while since we've seen him in the water. The last time was at a coworker's pool, where he struggled to get to a ball.

We brought a ball, but I quickly discovered that it didn't float, so I had to go out in the water and get it. Sticks, however, worked just as well with Hobie. We'd trow a stick out in the water, and Hobie would go hopping after it.

He would even stick his entire head under the water looking for the ball. We could see little bubbles of air coming from his nose as he exhaled underwater.

His eyebrows would obstruct his vision, so he had a hard time locating the sticks if they moved. In the above video, he couldn't quite find the stick, and swam back ashore to locate it, and then goes back for it.

Of course, after Hobie gets wet, he likes to dry off, preferably by rolling around in dirt. We put him back on leash to avoid him getting too dirty, but he still managed to pick up enough dirt to fill the backseat of the car.

Walk in the woods

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It's been relaxing to take Hobie for walks again. Although he hasn't changed much, we do notice that he has gotten older in the past year. He wants to sleep much more, and doesn't mind staying on the sofa for a few hours.

Nonetheless, he is still excited to be outside for a walk. We took him out in Bymarka last week, and he enjoyed sniffing new bushes, and romping around the trails.


He has also taken a liking to drinking from streams. It's actually really convenient - we don't need to bring water for him, we just lead him near a stream, and Hobie goes straight for the cold, fresh water. drinking_in_bymarka.jpg

About this Archive

This page is a archive of recent entries written by Kris in August 2008.

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