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North Hope Sled Dog Center in Kostroma

Situated in the spectacular forest terrain of north-east Kostroma in Russia, the North Hope Sled Dog Center helps orphaned children to develop to their fullest potential, with the assistance of a team of furry four-footed friends. The center is surrounded by unspoiled forests, peat dams, and taiga rivers complete with beaver dams. The pristine surroundings and healthy outdoor living provide a superb setting for helping the orphaned children overcome the psychological trauma they may have suffered, but the real credit goes to the developers of the program and most especially to the gentle-natured dogs that break down barriers and teach the children what it is to love and be loved.

With the tagline of 'Sled dogs helping children', the North Hope Sled Dog Center developed from the work done with the children of the orphanage co-founded by Father Superior Bartholomeo and Mother Paraskeva in 2004 – St Nicholas parish of the Russian Orthodox church – in which a group of orphan boys were cared for over a period of six years, during which time they raised puppies, trained teams for sledding, and participated in competitions and dog shows. The experience was invaluable in that the boys gained self-esteem while learning about responsibility and commitment. Three of the young men who were part of the initial project are now kennel managers and guides at the North Hope Sled Dog Center, and one is in charge of obedience training of the dogs. Moreover, two are studying at university – one as a veterinarian and the other as a psychologist – both of whom help with some of the center's programs.

In addition to caring for orphaned children, the North Hope Sled Dog Center offers a unique opportunity for families to enjoy the experience of clean country living and the companionship of the sled dogs – Siberian and Alaskan huskies and Alaskan malamutes. Summer activities include dog-trekking trips, hiking, swimming, bird watching, berry-picking, fishing and kayaking in spectacular surroundings. Winter activities include skiing, skijoring, and sledding along the route of the International North Hope Stage Sled Dog Race. Visits to the North Hope Sled Dog Kennel and the center's goat farm take place all year around.

When planning your next vacation, give some thought to supporting the North Hope Sled Dog Center and participate in their refreshingly fun activities in Russia's pristine Kostroma region.


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