My name is Milly and I'm a Lhaso Apso dog. For those of you who don't know us Lhaso Apso's were breed by the Tibetan Monks to guard their temples. Now I know what you're thinking, I'm no higher than a small box so how could I guard anything? Well, when we say guard dog we mean a sentinel, we keep watch and bark when we know something isn't right....that way we wake up the humans and let them deal with it!
The Tibetan monasteries are where the Buddhists live and they are very peaceful and always meditating...except when we start barking of course! But that is why I fit in so well around this place with all the spiritual stuff going on and people meditating. I think I make a great manager for this place....of course nobody ever calls me the manager, they all just think I'm a little dog but you and I know differently, right?
Let me introduce you to some of the other animals that live here at Mairela Retreat. Oh by the way if you don't know how to say Mairela, think of it like saying My Umbrella but then take out the Umb, as in My Rella.
Freija is a long haired German Shepherd dog who happens to be named after the Norse Goddess of Love and Beauty. I think that she is also the Goddess of Warcraft (the Norse lady not the dog!) which seems a weird combination! Freija helps to keep watch over the animals here, in particular the birds and guinea pigs. Just by being outside she leaves her scent around the place so the foxes or lynx don't come into the garden. If it got very cold and the foxes and lynx were starving they might risk coming to eat the birds but usually they stay away rather than risk an injury in a fight because if they get injured they may not be able to get food and they would die! It's different for us pets because if we get hurt or sick our Mummy looks after us.
Freija was born in Finland to Finnish and Swedish parents but she really only speaks English now. She loves going for walks with guests but her most favourite thing is chasing sticks or pine cones. But be warned because once you start throwing sticks for her she will whine at you continuously until you keep doing it! In the summer she also likes to fetch sticks from the lake.
Actually in the summer Freija and I love to go out in the rowing boat. One time Freija went jumping into the boat as she was so excited and she launched the boat! Our Mummy had to get a fishing line to hook the boat and pull it back to shore as Freija didn't know how to row!
Not everyone is so happy to have us come along in the boat as they say we fidget too much and make the boat rock, nervous people should probably avoid taking us along! I like to walk around the edge of the rowing boat and pretend to be Captain Jack Sparrow!
Ursula is a Warmblood horse, that really means that she is a mixture of breeds from different countries but all the details of her ancestry are kept in a special book called a stud book. She was a trotting horse. Trotting races are very popular here in Finland . Ursula was quite successful, someone told me she won over €7,000!! That sounds like a lot but her father General November has won over €1 million!!!
Ursula's posh name, the one that she has in the stud book I told you about
is Ulona Anderen Imagine going out to the field and shouting that, people would
were mad! My Mummy says that she has a very sweet nature and is very sensitive to other people's energy...my Mummy is always going on about energy stuff! Boring! Yawn....
We decided it would be nice for Ursula if she had a friend, after all horses usually live in herds so it would be nicer for her if she had a herd other than her old peculiar one which included ducks, chickens, turkeys and dogs! And so Liiman came to live with us
Liiman was also a former trotter who'd won over €40,000 but when they changed him from a stallion to a gelding he lost his mojo, oh dear!
I know that when Mummy goes out riding on Liiman, if Mummy is all relaxed and peaceful then Liiman is too and if Mummy gets all tense and worried then Liiman thinks they are going to be attacked by monsters hiding behind all the rocks and trees.....then nobody enjoys their ride!
We have ducks living here but only one of them really has a name and that is Potter! Potter is a girl but she was given her name because my Mummy bought a whole batch of ducklings and they got a virus which killed them all one by one but Mummy managed to save Potter with some herbs from the forest (Mummy does a lot of work with forest herbs....again, boring...) so she became Potter, the duck who lived (and if you have never read or watched any Harry Potter then you will have no idea what I'm talking about!
Anyway these ducks are called Muscovy ducks and Mummy was very excited to get them because she had read that they eat mosquitos!! I don't think they actually do but they do rummage through the garden and lake shore most of the time eating something so I think they eat the larvae so that the mosquitos never hatch. One thing's for sure they could never eat all of the mosquitos in Finland!
Our ducks are very lucky as Mummy likes them to roam free which includes going
out on the lake. This means that sometimes in the summer Mummy has to go and
herd them back to their pen for the night using the rowing boat. Mummy is getting very skilled with twisting and turning the boat. The ducks give us very big eggs that taste even better than chicken eggs (sorry Mrs Chicken but it is true). Mummy has lots of Thai friends who love her duck eggs because they are so great for their Thai cooking.
Mummy has her own organic gardens for growing vegetables which the ducks can wander over during the early spring, autumn and winter but once Mummy has planted her seeds she has to start a long battle with the ducks to stop them from eating everything!
Last year the ducks decided that they loved onion stalks and so all the onions kept getting pulled out. Mummy got very impatient about having to replant onions all the time so she built an enclosure where the ducks now stay during the growing season.
Actually this enclosure was where Mummy used to keep her goats but we don't have them anymore. We had a male goat called for Moses for about 2 days but Mummy couldn't stand the smell so she gave him back...he really did pong, just like all male goats!!
We also had 2 goats for milk and although Mummy loved having fresh goats milk she found it too stressful having the constant worry of the goats escaping (which they did quite often being very professional escape artists) and eating her vegetables.
Mummy said that it took months of hard work to bring in a harvest which 2 goats could destroy in minutes! It was just too much for poor Mummy to think about so when a friend asked about goat's milk Mummy gave her the goats!
Mr and Mrs Orpington Chicken also live here with the ducks, they are a lot more dignified than the ducks and really keep themselves to themselves. Mr Chicken always keeps an eye on Mrs Chicken and protects her from things he thinks are a danger to her....most of the time I think he is a bit too paranoid but Mummy says that if you consider the collective consciousness (like all the minds of the chickens in the world coming together as one mind) of chickens in this world most of them are living in fear so perhaps Mr Chicken is picking up their fears. I say, whatever!
What can I say about the turkeys except they come and they go...mostly around Christmas time! For many years people thought that my Mummy was a vegetarian because they never saw her eat meat but actually she just didn't want to eat all the horrible antibiotics and chemicals in mass produced meat plus she didn't want to be a part of the customer base that keeps abusive treatment of animals going and she also recognised that when we eat meat we are eating the thoughts and feelings of that animal and then we are affected by them.
Imagine an animal kept in a small cage, miserable and frightened and unnatural only to be released when it is lead through a terrifying process and then killed....well that's what Mummy says. Imagine that you eat all that misery, fear and terror to nourish yourself!!
So Mummy keeps her own birds which roam free all their lives allowing them to use their own instincts to heal themselves by picking out the right herbs growing naturally around them in the forest, garden and swamp (this is also why Mummy likes the horses to be loose in the forest).
The birds are dispatched ( a nice way of saying killed!) peacefully and quickly without inducing any trauma, all at the end of a happy life in the forest, garden, swamp and lake.
My Mummy thinks this is how it should be even though some people still believe that birds are born ready prepared and wrapped in plastic on a supermarket shelf! Imagine that!
Apparently all of the poo that the ducks, chickens and turkeys do is excellent fertiliser for the garden when added to compost. It's like a big circle, the poo goes into the garden to make the plants grow bigger, healthier and with lots of nutrients, then the birds eat the produce (they get all the outer leaves and stalks plus cabbage, spinach and pumpkins grown especially to feed them) from the garden and then poo again. Round and round it goes!
Talking of compost, there's a picture of me taken for the local newspaper telling the story of how I saved the day when the compost was accidently set on fire (don't worry we won't say how it happened!). Everyone was busy but I noticed because I'm a sentinel....did I mention that? If the fire had spread to the buildings or forest it would have been a disaster, I'm such a hero!
Now inside the house Mummy has 3 mini compost recyclers called Guinea Pigs. There is Minx, she's a girl and the 2 boys Stripe and Ed. In the summertime when it's warm Mummy lets them out into the garden. We try to keep them in cages but they are also great escape artists so sometimes they are running wild! At least we keep Minx in a cage so that we don't end up with hundreds of babies!
But during the winter the piggies live indoors and as soon as someone starts preparing food they start singing because they know they'll get some potato or carrot or parsnip or apple peel.
So they make good compost too. If the peel went straight into the compost it would take a few months to mulch but when it gets passed through a guinea pig it is almost instantly processed!
Plus you get to have a cute little animal to sit on your lap to stroke....hey wait a minute that's my job!!! You're supposed to put me on your lap and stroke me....sulk.....
Now let me tell you about some of the things I get up to around this place, when I'm not being Queen of the World or Hero of the Day that is... In the winter time, just like everyone else around here I go walking across water....oh yes, just call me Jesus dog! Except that I am walking on thick ice across the lake! By the end of the winter the ice is about 1 metre thick! Sometimes my Mummy goes to the big lake by the village and drives her car on it, that really freaks out her English guests and makes Mummy laugh!! She does have a bit of a mean streak you know!
I also like sledging....in fact it is one of my most favourite hobbies, except
for eating, laying down and licking my bottom! You can actually have a look
at a video of me sledging so you can admire just how amazingly cool I am!
Check this out....
And then there are the times when I'm not so cool....when everyone else was sledging and I was doing my sentinel thing and guarding everyone, like a little CIA agent I was sniffing around the area to check for bombs when...oh my God what's that noise, why are people shouting my name....aaarrgghh I'm being attacked...rrrrrruuuunnnnn. I don't know why everyone else found it soooo thoroughly amusing...humph....sulk....
Some of my other adventures are so heroic that they have been written about in story books....oh yes, I am so famous!
Here is a link to one story about my heroic (well mostly fainting actually!) deeds in the deepest forest with my best friend Emma. It's called Emma and the Dinosaur. She just happens to be human but don't hold that against her, she's amazing!
Talking of fame, one of the most clicked on pictures in my Mummy's photo collection (Mummy takes loads of beautiful pictures, you should take a look at her galleries) is a picture called Wet Dog featuring yours truly!
I've been used on so many other sites as a wonderful example of a dripping pathetic dog...hang on a minute, that's not what I wanted to be famous for! Oh well never mind, they say any publicity is better than none......sulk....sulk....oh the humiliation
Actually talking of humiliation have you ever gone for a long walk in fresh snow with very long fur?
If you have then you'll know that you end up looking like an ice cream! I weighed about 5 kilos when I left home and 10 by the time I got back, they had to put me in the shower for ages to defrost as it's impossible to pick the snow off, when you touch it it gets hard and compacted!! Sulk....