Selviytyjät (Survivors) by Jenna Kunnas & Finlayson
Animal rights have always been close to illustrator & pattern designer Jenna Kunnas’ heart. When this year brought again the time to design a new illustration for Finlayson’s “Villipedot” (“Wild animals”) collection, and the talk turned into cats and dogs, Jenna had immediately an idea in mind: this would be a great opportunity to help homeless animals.
As everybody at Finlayson thought this was a good idea, Jenna started to work, and travelled to Hämeenlinna, to “Kissakoti Kattila”, a shelter for homeless cats. There she found a cat called Reno to model for her illustration. Reno had been found in the fall 2021, wild and suffering from cold inside a house’s boiler room. (Read Reno’s full story from below.)
Jenna found a friend for Reno by calling Stray Dog Cabaret’s Heli Mäenpää, whom she knew to be an active speaker for animal and especially dogs’ rights. In Heli’s homeless dogs’ hospice Jenna found a big, curious and loving three legged dog called Serge, who had originally been found in Moscow, and whom Heli had adopted. (Read Serge’s full story from below.)
For Finlayson’s “Survivors” illustration Jenna depicted a cat and a dog laying around, using Reno and Serge as her models. This moment of rest is well deserved and heartfelt, since both of these two have survived a hard life and have finally had the chance to live in peace in a good home.
The characters that have previously been resting in “Wild animals” series’ products, are a rabbit and a fox, and an hedgehog and a bear. You can find all the products in here.
You can support the homeless cats’ shelter Kissakoti Kattila in many ways, for example by becoming a member, making a donation or by volunteering. See more (sorry in Finnish only): https://kissakotikattila.fi/
Stray Dog Cabaret you can support best by becoming a caretaker or by making a donation. See more (sorry in Finnish only): https://www.straydogcabaret.
The fall of 2021 had just started after a warm summer and the weather was cooling down. An animal lover had noticed a visitor in their yard. The visitor was Reno, a wild male street cat, who had come to warm up in the boiler room of the house. No matter how cute the little visitor was, it could not be let to face a long and dangerous winter time in the boiler room. Reno was taken to safety in Kissakoti Kattila, which works as a shelter for homeless cats. After the move, Reno’s previous life slowly began to unfold. Reno had lived in a feral cat population where many of them got some food and were able to warm up in the basement during the winter.
Reno’s story is not one of its kind. Similar cat populations are common in Finland. Although the idea of a pack of cats living by themselves may seem sweet at first, the reality is another. A cat should not live in conditions where it gets food but no other kind of care.
Wild Reno didn’t trust humans at first. The cat had previously lived its life in outdoors and mainly by luck, so it was reserved. But little by little, Reno started get along with others cats of Kattila. Gradually, he also found his own favorite things, such as Kattila’s outdoor garden and sour cream, which he insistently demanded right in the morning.
It was a good luck that Reno was found in the boiler room that autumn day. And at the end of spring he got lucky once again, when Reno got to his own home for the rest of his life. Pulleriina cat was waiting for our survivor in the new home, to sweeten the days of the hard-experienced Reno. The relatives of Reno, the 33 other cats of the pack, were collected in Kattila. Many of them have already found their own home.
Cats are known to have nine lives. Hard to say how many of them Reno spent outside in harsh conditions. But now the best part of them has begun: life in his own home.
Big, curious and people-loving. Sometimes a little silly. If you ask Heli, Serge’s current human, Serge is half German Shepherd and halfplush toy! That’s why he’s also a children’s favorite. However, this has not always been the case: until Serge became a plushie, he was a watchdog.
Serge spent the first years of his life on the streets of Moscow, like about 50,000 other dogs too. No wonder street dogs have become one of the city’s symbols. Different dog pack types have been observed among street dogs, one of these types is guard dogs. Theychoose their territory from among the city’s properties and announce with their bark of intruders. Serge’s territory was a parking lot on the outskirts of Moscow. There he got care and food from an old lady who had also given Serge his name. But one day, the woman brought the badly injured Serge to the Kozhuhovo kennel. Serge’s right hindleg was badly injured and had to be amputated immediately.X-rays also showed small bullets on the dog’s shoulder and lip. Five years during his life, Serge had already suffered a lot.
Serge is persistent and determined. When a Finnish animal protection organization Toivo ry’s active members visited the dog park in Kozhuhovo, the enthusiastic Serge dragged along and followed the guests as far and as fast as he could. And that paid off: a rundown but happy dog got to an animal shelter in Finland – and finally to his very own home. Heli, who adopts rescue dogs, decided to take Serge into her care.
However, Serge wasn’t immediately this wonderfully goofy plush toy that you see slouching and relaxing in the Survivor design. The hard life on the streets had left its mark on the dog, who was fiercely watching his new home in Finland. The guests were grunted, the renovation men were greeted with a bow grasping… It was hard for the watchdog to forget his old ways.
But little by little, even an incessant guard dog learns to trust people. Heli encourages Serge and draws his attention to dog treats and scratches in triggering nervous situations. As a result of patient care, Serge’s human-loving side begins to flourish. The previously scary dog becomes a favorite of friends and children – a cute fool, who’s endlessly interested in people, and who could be scratched and petted the whole day. The watchdog’s shift has finally ended and you no longer have to be constantly on tiptoes. Or be afraid. In your own home, you can be happy, playful and big-hearted – just the way you want it!