Mean, yelling, and stubborn - sheer devil. A loved child has many names, but Miranda Frings thinks differently. In this story, she talks about her love for Finnish spitz, bird hunting, life with a chronic disease, and her way to the Northern parts of Swedish woods.
Miranda Frings is a woman in her best years with a lifetime experience of both sweet and sour. As a 14-year-old girl, she left her home in the Netherlands with her mother and siblings to try out life in Norway. After years of living in what she describes as a dysfunctional family with a lot of alcohol, she left home only a year after the big relocation. At this time, there was a recession in Norway and many Norwegians went to Sweden to work. During this, Miranda left the Norweigan mountains and found a life in the northern Swedish woods.
- Because of my childhood, no one introduced me to the life of animals and nature - even though my interest was enormous even as a child, says Miranda.
Her fascination for animals was strong even as a young adult, and in combination with a desire to run her own business, Miranda passed an education in hunting and fishing. The goal was to work with tourism and, in that way, keep a contact with the Netherlands. During this time, she lived in the Swedish village Högland, where she met her husband.
- He took me to the forest and introduced me to hunting. But I was so afraid of the woods and the loneliness, I had this fear of the unknown. This is the result of being frightened as a child.
With help from her ex-husband, the forest became less foreign, and she learned a new way of seeing animals in Swedish forestry.
- He taught me that the animals we hunt have lived a good life; they have paired up as they want, changed pastures on their own, gave birth without disturbance, and so on. Although, I found it terrible when he ever shot a moose when I followed him hunting.
After the shattering experience of moose hunting, Miranda wanted to try bird hunting. This would later become a major part of her everyday life. The fear of the uncharted became too significant, and she felt that bird hunting would be easier. Besides, the dream of an Irish setter was burning strong within her. However, the problems remained - she didn’t know how to ski. In Holland, there was no snow. But she continued trying, and eventually, she succeded.
- At last, I dared to spend time in nature on my own. At this time, I was offered to borrow a Finnish spitz. The experience I had with this dog was breathtaking. Right there, I decided that my next dog would be a spitz.
Buying a Finnish spitz wasn’t easy. Prejudice and preconceived ideas complicated the process, and Miranda had almost given up. The hope decreased as friends and family compared the breed to taking the devil inside. But finally, Miranda got her male dog and raised him after her ideology.
- It was quiet in the dog yard, I got this beautiful family dog, and the first bird fell when he was ten months old. This is when I wanted to compete with him, but the impression of being stupid and clueless was returning. I had to overcome this feeling when I won the club championship and got to the podium twice in the Swedish contest ”Skallkungen”.
As a part of this, the request for breeding grew. Miranda got herself a new dog straight from Finland to keep a good bloodline. The puppy was raised the same way and he also qualified for Skallkungen - but he got the first place. Later, she would also buy a female spitz and raise dogs that moved to well-chosen owners.
- Many buyers believe you receive a good dog if you buy a puppy from great parents. However, the champion title is not included in any way - that’s something you need to work on by spending many hours in the forest. Some come through legacy, but the rest depends on whether the dog is offered the right conditions. For example, a puppy with good lines can end up with the wrong person and not receive the circumstances it needs, while a dog with wrong lines can end up with the right owner and become really good. Some are legacy and bloodline, but it's mainly conditions and environment.
The most attractive thing about bird hunting is the freedom to plan and organize the hunt just as she wishes, to carry the trade on her own, and the opportunity to walk wherever she wants to. Of course, in combination with sharing the adventure with her beloved Finnish spitzes.
- Hunting is about the interaction between dog, game, and myself. It’s about knowing what food I’m eating and how the animal has lived its life. The mass production of meat today is not acceptable, and I’m sure that I would have been vegetarian if I hadn’t been hunting on my own. I’m proud of being a hunter.
Miranda considers the shooting as the less-giving part of the bird hunt. Watching the dog work and succeed, along with everything else happening around it, is the greatest.
- The dog doesn’t give a shit if I shoot or not, he thinks it's just as fun when the bird flies away, and he gets to hunt it again, Miranda says laughing. Many exciting things can happen around while sneaking - once I woke up a hare, another time the dog brought me a moose, you find many perfect mushroom spots, and so on.
- It’s an indescribable power to have the ability to put down animals. Whenever I shoot a bird, I take his head, lay it under his wing, and show my gratitude.
Something hard to believe when meeting Miranda with her incredible enthusiasm, passion, and energy, is that she as a 14-year-old got her death warrant. She lives with a lung disease that could only promise her another ten years of living when diagnosed. Today, she passed that line big time and lives with the credo: ” If you’re dying, you die, but if you decide to live you have the ball in your court - live now, because you’ll be dead for a hell of a long time”.
The disease demands that Miranda is physically active - if not, she shortens her own life. Having hunting as a part of her life is not only what enhances a couple of days a year - it gives her the chance to grow old.
Miranda is a woman with huge luggage and an even bigger heart. This is her tips to succeed with your Finnish spitz:
- 95% of a dog's behavior depends on management. Finnish spitzes are determined but if you spend time working with them, they’ll become beautiful dogs. They are wise and easy to learn. I’ve brought my dogs to everything: in the forest, in the car, sleeping in tent, winter fishing, I’ve been punching balloons at home, snowmobiling, and so on. This shapes the dog and creates a good contact between the dog and the owner.
- When my dogs have been misbehaving, for example barking at a squirrel, I haven’t been yelling at them. If I bark, they bark. But when I hush and say something like: ” Ah, don’t care about that” - they stop and come along.
- All dogs are different. What worked on the first dog might not work on the other. The most important is that it gets to go outside - a Finnish spitz needs to do all the things they are created for. They are family dogs, but not hunting with them is torture.
- Don’t underestimate small kennels. A big kennel with one brood a year is shown in club magazines when having more puppies in orbit. The small kennel with one brood every second year is shown less, but counting percentage, these puppies are just as good as the ones getting attention. It’s not common that a Finnish spitz doesn’t hunt. Environment and hours in forestry give a hunting buddy for life.