Who ever said dogs and cats cannot be friends? We are in love with this unlikely fur-pack and it proves once again – where there is love there is love.
Jonna, you are from Finland, but you call Portugal your home?
Yes, I have been lucky enough to call this my home now for 1,5 years. My long-time dream came true.
You currently have 3 children, Hope, Spirit and Hero. How and when did all these kids enter your life?
Hero was my first real border collie of which I had been dreaming since I was 7 years old. Before getting Hero, I made years of research of the breeders and pedigrees. I was searching for a great all-round dog with whom I could possibly compete in various sports, and we sure did. I picked him up from Netherlands, from one of the most respected border collie breeders in Europe, already 12 years ago. He was and still is more than I could have ever imagined a dog to be like. That once in a lifetime type.
Spirit came exactly 8 years ago, just before Xmas, from the same breeder (but from completely different lines) since I couldn’t be happier with Hero. This time I was looking for mainly a fast and furious agility dog, and because I so much-admired Spirit’s mother, I was determined I want a puppy from her. And that I definitely got with my little girl, a true working dog. I love her to bits. During the first years, she challenged me a big time though, but turned into pure gold. She’s a perfect example of hard work paying off. She is simply everything I wanted.
Hope, my adult Siamese X kitty, I found last summer in Azores while I was on holidays there with my friends. This story is very special since she actually chose me. Before her, I was never really considering taking a cat even though I love all animals. I was just that dog type of a person. But, she completely changed me. We found her in Sao Miguel sitting at a parking lot in an abandoned village. Long story short, she just started following me like a dog in a middle of that jungle, climbing in to my lap and meowing after me. Finally, she kept on waiting for us to come back from the hike for 1 hour next to our car, and jumped right in when we opened the car door. It was just destiny. So, we took her to a vet to check the microchip etc., and later on she flew to Lisbon to live with me. I have been so into her ever since the first meeting.
We learned that you have one more rescue dog, back in Finland. Will he/she be joining you here anytime soon?
This is the saddest part of the story. My oldest dog, Tara, is already +16 years old and has breathing complications in heat/warm weather (even in the north!), so unfortunately she could not come to live here. So she stays now happily with my dear Godmother and her other dog. However, I try to visit her as much as possible. Still I miss her terribly every day.
What is it that makes you most happy about being a fur-mommy?
The joy, companionship and friends these little ones have brought in to my life. I could not think a day without them. To me, my furiends are everything and their loyalty is uncomparable.
And what do you find the most challenging?
Every now and then I need to travel for my work and as a foreigner it is always a challenge to think whether to leave them here or take them with me. For now, I have only taken them with me to Finland in summer when I spend a longer period there. Luckily, for these other times I have found a great doggie hotel here in Alentejo.
Hope, Spirit, Hero. These are beautiful names with very strong meanings. Can you tell us more about them and why you chose them?
For the dogs, “Hero” & “Spirit”, I wanted to find English names due to the origin of the breed and names that would be still easy to pronounce in Finnish. Also, I tried to think of a name that would match the purpose I was dreaming to reach with them and how they looked/felt like. “Hope” on the other hand was the first word that came in to my mind when I saw her sitting there. It just came immediately. She looked so hopeful and hopeless at the same time.
Hero and Spirit are border collies and Hope is a cat, how do they get on? Are there any fights? And who is the Alpha in the family ?
They never faught with each other, and all of them got along very well since day one. Hope is actually the center of the universum for Hero nowadays. Hero always looks after Hope and search for her if he looses his seight of her. He really adores the kitty. Sometimes we go for walks all together, and I can see that even Hope counts on the doggies on those adventures. It is really cute to follow. Who is the alpha… hmm well Hero seems to be the alpha, but you hardly never see that taking place.
What is the secret to a happy household of cats and dogs? ( please tell our kids too, they are such cat chasers🙏)
Hero also chases other cats outside, but he understood immediately this is now a family member. I guess it all depends on the pets’ characters and chemistry how they will accept new members in the pack, and how they react to changes. I knew all of them were super laid back, so everything went smoothly – but it was not guaranteed of course since they were all adults already. Only Spirit can be a little bitchy sometimes, but she doesn’t scare Hope for one bit. Spirit just doesn’t want the cat to come at her face, and Hope respects that even if she’s sometimes curious to try her limits. However, at the same time, they would still sleep attached to each other. They all just seem to have that silent communication where everyone knows its place. I am so happy and guess lucky too we may live in a perfect harmony with each other. However, I spent all my life basically training and competing with dogs so that might make it a little bit easier for them to settle with anything really, but at the same time a cat you do not train. 😄 I’d say you just have to know your pets character and soul to predict things.
Are you planning to have more kids anytime soon?
I might be 😉 Stay tuned. (Crazy woman, I know.)
When you take Hero and Spirit for walkies, does Hope join?
Yes, she joins us every now and then since I want her to be able to explore the outdoors too. But with her, I still need to keep the walks a bit shorter and give her the time she needs.
Where is your favourite place for walks?
Definitely in Sintra, near Barragem do Rio da Mula and in Pisao.
Each kid is very different from One another. How would you describe their personalities?
Hero is simply like Mufasa from Lion King. Sweet and balanced, but has enough ego to tell right from wrong and also advices others on this. Spirit on the other hand is a sweet little fox with huge working power. She truly lives up to her official name “always ready”. She loves people and would do anything for me, but other animals she mainly ignores with only a few exceptions. Hope is a really sweet, laid-back and playful cat. She is very social and loves to stay close to me/beg my attention. She even sleeps on top of my belly most of the time haha. The only challenge with her is the meowing and digging yet at night – being a former street cat and a cat who loves to explore.
Hope, Spirit, Hero.
Tell us please, what is the funniest thing your mom ever did for you? When she was alone here in Portugal in the beginning, she always took us on seight seeing with her and even to restaurants sometimes. We definitely got a lot of attention. But the funniest thing for us is her training and playing with us our favourite games.
If you could portray her in 3 words, what would they be?
Our trusted queen.
Do you sleep with mommy in her bed?
Yes, the girls always (Spirit and Hope) but as getting older, Hero is joining too for hour or two.
What is your favourite food?
We dogs love tuna and liver casserole as our favourite treat. Hope enjoys salmon.
If you were to become hooman, what would you like to be?
Hero: Police. Spirit: Professional thriathlonist. Hope: Princess.
Do you have favourite toys?
Hero: Tennis ball with rope in it. Spirit: Anything I can tug. Hope: Carpet and spaghetti.
Are you planning to visit mom’s homeland one day?
Yes we do. We’ll see what the future holds.
To learn more about this awesome pack, follow their Instagram @creamypepper.bordercollies