An active life with a dog and a motorhome

Norwegian mountains, Belgian dogs, and a Slovenian motorhome – for Ewa Jonsson from Falun, it's a perfect combination. "We live an active life and love the freedom that comes with motorhome living.

Animals are a significant part of Ewa's life. In her daily life, she works at AniCura, a large veterinary chain, where she holds a leading role in marketing. Ewa is fundamentally a licensed veterinary nurse. "I've always had a great interest in animals and have had dogs throughout my life. It's the interaction between humans and dogs that appeals to me; the dog is always your best friend." Together with her partner Marcus, she currently has two Belgian Shepherd dogs of the Malinois breed. Chiefen is three years old, and Ässo is four and a half. "It's an active breed that thrives best in active families, which is exactly what we are," says Ewa.

The motorhome allows us to be very flexible. For us, who enjoy an active life with animals and nature, it's absolutely perfect.

The motorhome makes it possible

An essential part of their life is the motorhome, enabling and facilitating their outdoor activities, from dog camps and competitions to mountain hikes and vacations. They bought their first motorhome five years ago. In 2020, they switched to a van - Adria Twin Supreme 640 SGX - which better suits their needs. "We simply wanted more freedom. To be able to drive, stop, and spend the night wherever we want. For us, it's all about free camping; we only check into campsites in emergencies when we need to use service facilities," says Ewa. They use the motorhome from early spring to late autumn. Northern Norway is the most common destination, with mountain hikes being the main attraction. "It's incredibly beautiful there! Varangerhalvöya and Seiland are two favorite places, but we usually explore different places each time."

Smart packing

This summer, they had a total of over 60 overnight stays and covered around 5000 kilometres with the motorhome. "At most, we were out for five weeks straight. It's essential to pack smart," says Ewa. The motorhome is registered with a total weight of 4500 kilograms, providing plenty of loading capacity, which is necessary with two 30-kilogram dogs, two large hiking backpacks, and food for both two- and four-legged family members. The backpacks are pre-packed at departure and are so large that they have their designated spaces around the dinette. "They weigh about 25 kilograms each and are loaded with food, a tent, and other necessities. We've removed the cushions in the sofa and securely belted the backpacks. When we find a suitable place to camp with the motorhome, we take our backpacks and tent and go on foot expeditions. "We're out for several days, sometimes up to a week. It's about 10 kilometres of hiking per day, approximately," says Ewa.

Competing - elite level

Ewa and Chiefen are active members of the Swedish Working Dog Club and compete in the disciplines of Tracking, Search and Protection. Tracking involves the dog following a ground-level scent trail of a person. Wooden sticks with human scent are placed in the track for the dog to mark or pick up and deliver to the handler. "In Search, the dog must find and mark people who are more or less hidden in the terrain. Protection is about the dog stopping a fleeing person and warding off significant threats to the handler," explains Ewa. In the Tracking and Search categories, she and Chiefen have performed so well that they have moved up to the highest competition class - the elite class. "Competing is very enjoyable and rewarding for both of us. Some competitions may be twenty miles away, but with the motorhome, it's easy to get there, and it's practical to be on-site at the gathering in the early morning," says Ewa. She is also a dog handler and officer in the Dala Battalion response unit and, with previous dogs, has been involved in searching for weapons and ammunition for the Swedish Armed Forces.

Custom-built dog crate

There are several reasons why they chose an Adria Twin Supreme 640 SGX. One is its maneuverability on smaller roads in forest terrain. "Sometimes we end up on worse roads than we expected, like the time at the Three-Country Cairn when we encountered a tracked vehicle from the Norwegian military. Thanks to the compact size, we could get to the starting point, but it was a close call", Ewa laughs. Under the adjustable bed at the back, they have constructed a secure place for the dogs. "We have a custom built dog crate on the floor that is both practical and safe. The bed cannot be fully lowered, but enough for us to have a comfortable sleeping place that is easy to climb up and down from. Sometimes they visit friends who have no extra room, are allergic to, or are not so fond of, dogs. Then the motorhome also serves as a guest room. "The motorhome allows us to be very flexible. For us, who enjoy an active life with animals and nature, it's absolutely perfect," Ewa Jonsson concludes.

Adria Twin Supreme 640 SGX

Length: 636 cm

Width: 205 cm

Height: 260 cm

Service weight: 3037 kg

Sleeping places: 2+1

Seating places: 4

Chassis: Fiat Euro 6

Engine: 160 hp

Transmission: automatic

Fuel: diesel

Belgian Malinois Shepherd

A herd and guard dog, originally used on farms in Belgium. It is often confused with the German Shepherd but is lighter and has a more square profile. The breed is known for its intelligence, endurance and work capacity and is often used in law enforcement. Belgian Shepherd comes in four different varieties: Groenendael, Laekenois, Malinois, and Tervueren.

Malinois, named after the Belgian city of Malines, is the most popular and has a short coat with a red fawn colour. They often have a shoulder height of 58–62 cm and weigh 20–30 kg.

Competitions at SBK (Swedish Working Dog Club)

Working trials are one of the SBK's competition categories. In working trials, the dog is tested in both obedience and a special task. The performance takes place both in an obedience area and in the forest and terrain. The obedience task is mandatory, and at the lowest level, the team performs tasks such as heeling, walking ahead, recall, retrieving, jumping, and lying-down-stay. The level of difficulty increases for each class. In addition to the obedience task, all teams must perform one of five special tasks – tracking, search, protection, reporting, patrol work, and IPO Nordic Style.

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