Our Story

 

As every real story,

also ours has the beginning and the end. That 's what I also call as a life. Because the life, including born and death, is one and only realistic thing in the world. And only realism can make the story to be a very touching one – because we humans always need something to indentify with.

The born is the beginning, the death is the end. And everything between is the story itself – the life. And even though it is sad, we need them all to keep this world in balance. Every born is worth of story and every story has the right to end.

 

I was odd child,

 all my life lived in a dark place on the edge. It felt like being alive without born, otherwise I felt like I was dead without ever dying. And ever born. I was sad and I was lost, I carried the pain of the world on my shoulders. I felt guilty because I had nothing to give, I had nothing to help with. I felt the fear and pain of people in middle of the war, I felt the pain of people and children suffering without water and food somewhere in developing countries. I felt guilty for the food I ate, I felt guilty the water I used even for flushing the toilet. I had no one, I was totally alone. The only company I had  was my great empathy that drove me imbalance, and the God I for some reason felt deep belief in. I couldn't handle what was going on in the world. I hated myseld because I was so useless. At very young age I was near suicide, somehow I understood if caring people end their own life, there's no one left to stop and end the gruelty. Realizing this made me keep going. I learned about Mother Theresa and I got inspired. Everyday after school I cyckled to the farm for helping farmer with cows. He never asked me to, one day I just popped up and said I am here to help. I was little child and he didn't take me seriously, but I popped up everyday and got better with what I did. The farmer gave me some food and ice-cream every evening and we had such a nice conversations. Helping made me feel better, and as a huge bonus I got to spend some time with animals. One summer the farmer wanted to thank me for all help I had given him. He gave me my favorite cow called Lila, my very first pet and I felt like happiest kid in the world.

 

Few years later

I had several places to go to help and also work places. I started to get some pocket money and by that I started to save for own dog. After school I worked 4 days in a week and additional helped as much as I could. I was happy and didn't feel useless anymore, I donated for church and Red Cross for sharing my help there where I couldn't travel to myself. Saving money for a dog took a long time because after wide research I understood how expensive it can be when dog needs a vet, special diet or something else unexpectedly. I was 13 years old when Oliver Bean was born, and I fell in love with him even though the picture. Before we met, I had no idea he would change my life.

Bean's love changed me forever.

I didn't expect anything from him, I just wanted to take care of him and made him to feel most loved puppy in the whole world. But he answered to my love the way I had no experience. He was very different dog, he sensed me so well and it was impossible to hide anything from him. He gave me a real life joy I never had before and on my hard days he chased all the sadness away. He made me feel safe. He made me to be stronger and braver but still save my kindness. He protected me and by that he taught me to protect myself, not only others as I used to do. He made me to understand I was worth to be protected, that I was worth to feel loved. He loved me just the way I am and by that he encouraged me to be myself. And by him I always was and always will. He helped me to understand myself, he helped me to understand my values and finding a way to live for them. To live for charity, for animal rescuing, for children rights.. and always fight for them. I never expected him to love me and by his love to give me this all. I asked nothing but got everything and more. Him.

 

I started to design and make him clothes

and when I was 14 years old the crafts teacher got impressed with my design. Next spring I was asked to make a fashion show at school with Oliver Bean. I did and we both enjoyed it a lot. Oliver Bean was allowed to stay at school with me all day long because I lived 20 miles away from school. I loved to have him with me because for me the school was not nice place to go. I loved to study but I was bullied all my childhood and youth. The fashion show of my designs was the shade of future but at this point I had no idea one day I would have own clothing brand.

We were best friends who did everything together.

I organized him theme birthday party every year, still never celebrated mine, and I made sure every Christmas  Santa visited him. Wherever I went, he came with me. What ever I did, he was my inspiration. Every night I read him a bed time story, and every movie night I made sure he had his own goodies to enjoy. Even funerals we were invited together. Everyone knew it was him and I, or neither of us.

 

Many, many times I heard people saying:

"it's just a dog". Today I understand those people are just humans. Today I understand the difference between human and soul living in human being. Bean was a dog, but not just a dog. He was much more. He was my best friend, he was my soulmate, and as I always called him; he was my kid. And the way he understood me, I am feel he was the creature of heaven.

I adopted a big brother for Bean in 2008.

The brother was called as Valtteri and he was 6 years old Chinese Crested. Bean and Valtteri became such the best buddies. Until then it had been just Bean and I living together in our little apartment, now our team, as I called us, felt more like a family. And it felt so good. I didn't feel guilty anymore when I needed to go to school and work beacuse my babies had each others. I was happy and they were happy, our family was perfect now.

 

Until only three years later Veltteri passed away for cancer.

It was very hard for us, and Bean fell in depression. I did my best to cheer him up but it was so hard; I was sad and powerless myself, too. I kept going for Bean, he was my only motivation to get back on track with life after unexpected, painful loss. I did my best to support him, I took him to meet furiends and pampered him with everything I could. But nothing helped, Bean didn't get excited about aything anymore, and soon he lost his appetite and some weight. Vet couldn't help us, Bean was healthy but  seriously depressed. And I felt so helpess.

Bean had always been a happy boy,

the happy soul who always protected me from depression. Now he was there himself and it was my turn to bring him back. When we came home from vet I noticed a yellow yarn next to black yarn in my basket. "A bee", I said and looked at Bean.

 

It was the beginning of Bean&Pähkinä.

All night long and next day I knitted him The Bee sweater. Next evening I took him to the meadow for a walk in his new sweater. It was weekend and lots of people were enjoying of spring just like us. Very soon people surrounded us, they all wanted to see this little dog with stripes, wings and cute spike. They asked if they could take some pictures of us and first time for a long time Bean lifted his ears up and wagged his tail. Cameras and all the attention people gave for him only made him feel better. I found myself in tears, in happy tears. People asked if I was alright and I told  them I was much more than just alright. I had got my Bean back!

 

I kept knitting up and created more animal costumes and sweet characters to keep his happiness up.

The next sweater was The Pig, The Cow after that. Then I knitted The Tiger. This was the point people started to ask where to get them and Bean and I decided to found a trade name together. I designed and knitted and he was my inspiration for everything I created. Soon I noticed he loved the camera and posed like a professional model. I was impressed. He solved the problem how to get all clothes pictured on our websites. He enjoyed his life and showed it, the sadness and depression belonged to the past. In 2 years our company grew from the trade name to Ltd.

In 2013 we were ready to rescue a brother for Bean.

After all charity we had done worldwide with Bean those years I was more aware of animal suffering and torturing around the world. So I had decided to rescue a dog from somewhere the struggle was real. I got to know about a little suffered Chinese Crested in USA. I saw the pictures and heard his story, just felt he was the one. Bean's life had always been safe, mine wasn't. In the eyes of this little Crestie I saw myself. From Helsinki to London, from London to Chicago, from Chicago to Minneapolis and back with new family memeber, from Chicago to New York and from New York finally back home, I traveled for him. It asked over 17 100kilometers (10 630miles) of traveling, 4 days and nights of flying and lots of paper work to get him home. It wasn't easy, but it was worth of everything.

 

We named him to be Armani Bentley, BenBen.

Bean fell in love with his new little brother, and BenBen felt first time in his life very safe and loved by us. Bean seemed to sense BenBen's difficult past, he took care of his brother very sensitive way and stayed close to him for making him feel safe and comfy. There never was jealous between Bean and Bentley, there never was any negativity, just pure innocent love.

 

BenBen had lots of problems.

Never in my life I had seen as fearful dog: he stopped breathing when he saw unknown people, especially men. He never used his voice. He peed when panic and never protected himself no matter what, he just let everything happen. He made a circle when walked, nothing else but circle by circle. He needed lots of support and help, he needed training and vet care for all his injuries, mostly for his dislocated legs and hurted neck. Bean already was a senior dog and not so active or playful anymore, it didn't help BenBen with his problems. BenBen needed to learn eveything again, he was like a puppy who had no idea what kind of animal he was and how should he act. It helped a lot I have a great experience of dog training and psychology. Step by step we hit great results.

 

I never forget the first smile of BenBen,

the little wink he gave me like saying "mama, I love you". During the years with Bean's help I had learned how to carry and handle the pain and sorrow of the world in me, rescuing BenBen was one way more to ease my feelings. There's no medication to end the cruelty in the world, and avoiding painful feelings by the medications doesn't eliminate the cause. And without cause elimination there's no real improvement. Closing eyes from the truth is not an option either, because it makes human to be just indifferent. And indifference we already have enough in this world. I don't want to be part of it. I prefer feel the pain and ease it by helping, than feeling nothing or doing anything. I prefer be useful than useless.

 

It helped me when I helped BenBen,

the love we shared became stonger and stronger. Bentley's trust on me was incredible and beautiful. For boosting his progress I decided to motivate him with little brother next Christmas.

Little brother Calvin James, CJ, arrived in January 2014.

And made us all go bananas, in a good way only. CJ was Chinese Crested puppy, a wonderful little boy with most adorable character. I met him when he was born and after first met he cried after me. Such a mama's boy he became, his world seemed to be perfect when he cuddled with me. In my arms there was nothing wrong in his life. He loved his brothers as strongly as he loved me, and Bean and Bentley both loved him so much. He was playful, he was curious and he encouraged BenBen to the same. He taught BenBen how to do and his life joy was very contagious. It was like two puppy in the house by Cj, and after all he made even Bean to play like a puppy again.

 

Step by step BenBen became such a brave curious little man.

And I was very proud of them all, but especially of CJ who had helped his brother so much.

Bean&Pähkinä had three wonderful dog models now.

And our family was even more than just perfect. Everything we did, we did all together. We traveled, we enjoeyd of picnics and barbeques, we took CJ to running race and above all we run our company together. We had so much fun and we created wonderful new clothes together.

 

But as we all know the life is not always fair.

And not the happiness of ours was forever. Very soon, too soon our little family got crushed. CJ was not even one year old when he started to have horrible strong strokes, and soon he got diagnosed with epilepsy. He had a medication but not a balance yet when he had a worse stroke that broke the blood vessel in his lung. Recovering took for a long time but CJ healed up like such a strong little boy. We finally found a medication that kept his epilepsy in balance. Everything was alright until one morning while cuddling I found a little lump on his side. While waiting the results of biopsy new lump popped up next to the first one. Both tumors got removed well and CJ started the medication for full recovery. Unfortunately the medication disturbed his epilepsy medication and he started to faint and have strokes again. It balanced again when medication ended, but 6 months later tumors were back and even worse now. CJ had a surgery again. His brothers were the greatest support for him and made sure he felt as comfy as possible all the time. This time recovering was more difficult for little CJ.

 

Donations made us feel better.

We kept focus on charity instead selling our clothes these years CJ was sick. CJ made donations for dogs having different kind of illnesses, BenBen donated for rescue dogs and Bean for families in need. Not our clothes can save the life, but they do share love, hope and positive energy. And those three things have the power of saving lives.

Our life changed a lot.

Next fall tumors came back. Again. CJ was tired and he became aggressive by the pain. The medication he was on didn't allow inflammatory drugs used same time and painkillers made his hallucinate and by that he was very scared. Without painkillers he screamed and bit himself, and didn't let anyone touch him anymore. I couldn't sleep, I stayed up for making sure he didn't have seizures while sleeping. I was tired but still hopeful, so badly I wanted to heal him up. But it never happened. The next vet visit gave us some bad news again and the vet let us know they couldn't keep the treatments up anymore, my baby suffered and only option was let him go.

 

I never forget the scream of mine when I needed to say good bye.

Good bye to my little speacial boy who was just started his life. It destroyed me a hard way. We fought against the illness for three years, and after all we lost. So many beautiful memories left to stay in my mind forever. I promised my Calvin James I will fight against puppy mills and torturing the rest of my life. I promised to keep rescuing and adopting up, I promised never stop doing charity and taking care of them who need help. And after all I apologized I couldn't save his life and heal him up. I sang him and kissed him while he passed away in my arms surrounded of flowers.

It was now Bean and BenBen again.

And I was such a mess with my two little babies. We all were so sad and only the love we shared could heal our hearts. Slowly but surely we started to get back on track with life. We kept donations up and took some time to handle our loss.

 

Only two months later the death resched us again.

Very suddenly Bean started to have some serious symptoms and we stayed two days in emergency. Next day he wasn't able to travel by car anymore, fortuntaly there was new vet opened next to our home also doing home visits. Bean's situation was very bad, while CJ was sick Bean was hidden his own illness for letting me take care and keep focus on his brother. It broke my heart to realize he had been sick for so long and never gave me a sign because he wanted all attention to go for his sick brother.

 

Two days later Bean passed away.

He passed away next to me and BenBen wearing his ballerina dress he so much loved. And just like for CJ I promised something for him, too. I promised him I will never give up and I'll keep going just the way he taught me to, when he became the biggest part of my life when I was just a kid.

 

I couldn't imagine my life without Bean.

It was hard enough to lose CJ, but Bean only two months after him. I was lost. I felt the darkness around me just like when I was a child. Bean was my everything, and now he was gone. I felt helpless. I didn't know what to do.

I have never felt as empty in my life.

Two losses in two months was too much to handle. Even though I have lost them dearest and closest human beings in my life the loss of Calvin James and Oliver Bean was worse. They were the biggest part of my life, they were part of me just like BenBen. My friend Marlene and keeping focus on BenBen helped me to keep going. Slowly but surely I got back on my feet again.

 

 Bean had made his last donation before he passed.

The first time in my life I just couldn't design anything, I was totally locked. I needed a break for a while to coming back stronger than ever. And I did. By Bean's last donation we kept running our dog clothing brand with BenBen.

 

It was the end of us but not what we have created.

Bean is living in my design, and of course in the name of the brand, forever.

I have kept my promises for Calvin James and Oliver Bean.

One and half year later with Marlene's help I started to plan a new rescue brother for BenBen. In December 2018 I flew to USA again to rescue a little poor dog to start a new better life in Finland with us. Little nakid boy is called Antonio Vito de Picasso, known as PicaPica. In Finland we continued the treatments the rescue organization started. Succesfully his eye got removed when couldn't get saved. The same side ear canal had flattened and ear got rotten by that, treatments has helped and eased his feelings. An aggresive and very fearful little naked Chihuahua has became more brave and happy dog with us in a little time.

 

BenBen started to feel better by new brother.

He is going physical therapy regularly for his legs now and brother goes with him as a support. Many ways Picasso reminds me of Calvin, he has very similar character and he is as smart as CJ was. The same way as CJ also Picasso is mama's boy and climbs in my arms when wants some attention. CJ loved to hide under the bed, Pica does the same. The same time BenBen has started to look more and more like Bean.  Little funny things, many ways I feel CJ and Bean are living in the spirit with us.

 

Together we are now running the brand and keeping up donations.

In 2019 we have opened "Charity Line" for helping one amazing dog rescue organization in Texas, USA. We donate 50% of sales of CharityButton marked clothes for organization called Tender Loving Crested Rescue™.

Lola Pähkinämäki Design

Bean&Pähkinä Dog Wear

Finland

 

lola@lolapahkinamaki.com

 

FI25341135