As my time at a second vet clinic in Sweden is now coming to an end and I am leaving all my new friends in Kumla with a heavy heart, it is time to look back at a couple of months of – at times – hard work and long hours, treating my Nordic patients, but also at some other great things, I was able to do and which I have so far not shared with you.
One was in Grönklitt North of Mora after one of the few days of skiing I had, when I passed a musher and his sledge dog team. Turning my car around, I got out and ask for permission to take a few photos.
And as it often happens, when you talk to animal owners and it turns out that you are a vet, you might get on like a “house on fire”. No difference with Frasse and his dogs – he had just been at one of my local colleagues with his leading bitch after she had knocked out several teeth on her cage door. Although I couldn’t help him- or better – her a lot, I sympathized with him about the expected vet bill and agreed to contribute towards it by hiring his sledging team for a spin.
Good choice ! This experience was truly worth every penny – or better Kronor (no-one bothers about Öre any longer in Sweden….)! Seven huskies, that were rearing to run, took us through the woods and I had to admit, that although I came for cross country skiing, this was much better !!
My advice: If you ever get the opportunity to travel on a canine drawn sledge, take it – you won’t believe how much fun it is, especially if the dogs in front of you listen and are doing what they have been told to do……
Another highlight was to see in person the cross country skiing elite at the World Cup Races in Falun.
Although it might be for most of you a niche sport, I have been following these athletes on television for many years at night after work or on weekends, in my gym at home on the spinning bike, the in-door rowing machine or on other torture machines and in some way joined them during their races. Seeing them for real and witnessing their real speed and endurance added to my respect for these top athletes, in a similar way as you might respect and admire a world renowned artist, musician or scientist. Seeing the human body and/or mind at it’s peak is and always will be inspirational.
No-where much more so when seeing and admiring the endurance and raw determination of Therse Johaug, the by far best female cross country skier of our times (here unusually in the last position of a sprint semi-final, which is not really her event….)
Finally an experience I didn’t have……. – and to be honest, I am very glad about it.
Although I was doing my utmost to see an elk (running and driving at night, hiking through the forest and taking on purpose the “scentic routes”), sharing the front seats of my car with one, was clearly not on my wish list.
The image above was taken by my colleague, who had been offered a visit to the local driving school and an afternoon course on driving on ice, which is mandatory in the Scandinavian countries. The exhibits at the driving school were a stark reminder how dangerous it can be driving on Swedish roads.
And sure enough, how considerable the risk was, was demonstrated when one of the next mornings Ewa, one of our receptionists, arrived late for work after an female elk had virtually jumped on to her car. According to her, the car came out “second winner”….and the elk left a few souvenirs on the car windows before disappearing again into the forest.
So, while heading South and leaving Scandinavia – at least for now – the only encounter I had with an elk, is in form of a deep frozen filet, which was given to me by Leif, one of my Swedish colleagues, linked with the promise “to return back soon”…….