When walking through the door to the apartment, the first thing you see is a coat rack with leads of different colours and a glass jar full of green bags. The packages of dry and wet dog food on the kitchen wall seem like a candy shop for four-legged creatures. The only thing that is missing is those plastic ladles.
When visiting Tilda Koskinen in Espoo, you cannot help but notice her dogs. They fall into your lap, literally. As soon as the door opens to the Lumo home in Leirikaari, Leppävaara, you get thoroughly sniffed by five Whippets.
“We have an extra dog today,” says Tilda.
Three of the dogs, Rudi, Phoebe and Bruno, are Tilda’s, while the fourth belongs to her flatmate and the fifth is visiting for a day. The two-bedroom rental is certainly full of life, even when there are only four dogs. Tilda explains that the breed, originally developed as a racing dog, loves to live in packs. If you get one, you may find yourself getting another one quite soon.
“Whippets are social creatures. If you get one, you’re bound to get more. After getting over the worst of the puppy phase, you just want to see your dog have some company.”
This is exactly what happened to Tilda who plans to breed Whippets in the future. She got her first sighthound, Rudi, while she was still living with her parents. After that, her pack has grown every couple of years. The newcomer, Bruno, arrived last year from Ukraine through Poland when he was seven months old.
“I liked Bruno’s parents. I wanted a dog from their litter.”
Lumo home for dog enthusiasts
These dogs are not just couch potatoes; Tilda takes them to canicross, track racing and agility and practises various tricks with them. You can tell that the dogs are well trained.
“Rudi has participated in competitions in all three sports. In canicross, he’s already a field trial champion in Finland and Sweden. In track racing, we’re short just one final good result, and in agility, he races in the highest category.”
All these hobbies mean that Tilda regularly packs her pack in the car and drives from Espoo to the agility hall, the racing track or to the forests of Luukki or Nuuksio, for example. The dogs are also the reason why Tilda and her flatmate moved from Sörnäinen to Espoo in January. The change of scenery was clear as there are no lush forests and nature trails downtown.
Now, Tilda and her dogs can find moss-covered cliffs, the milieu of the Villa Elfvik nature house and sandy trails where they do not need to sidestep any passers-by.
“The apartment is a great size and the location is excellent. I can walk to work and I don’t have to worry about parking like I did in Sörnäinen.”
A pack that draws attention
If Tilda’s dogs could speak, they would probably agree with their owner. The Lumo home in Leirikaari is a stone’s throw away from the nearest forest. Even though the centre of Leppävaara is nearby, the neighbourhood is quiet and peaceful. On weekdays, the pack sometimes encounters walkers and other lead holders on the trails.
“We have a lot of families and dog owners in this area.”
Tilda’s pack draws attention in the neighbourhood, particularly among the younger folk. Children often ask if they can pet the dofs. Rudi, Phoebe and Bruno love some rubs.
However, Tilda finds it important to remember that not everyone loves dogs as much as children often do. That is why she wants to set an example of being a good dog owner and citizen. This means bringing dog poop bags everywhere you go and giving everyone a wide berth. The fewer the problems caused by dogs, the fewer the complaints.
“I want to respect the fact that not everyone is a dog person.”
Tilda’s pack becomes alert when she digs some treats from her pockets. Used to the camera, the athletic dogs stand rooted to the spot as the treats fall to the ground. The sight of a hare can often cause a similar reaction. When on a lead, the dogs react to wild animals in different ways. Phoebe is usually the only one to start barking while Rudi and Bruno remain silent. They do not make a move unless the hare makes the mistake of running off.
“At heart, the Whippet is a hunting dog related to the terrier. There’s no way out of the Whippet fan club.”
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