The adorable golden lab in the photo is called Finse, and she’s one lucky pup. Aristocratic by birth and quickly becoming one of the world’s most travelled dogs, Finse is also the star of a children’s book series. Not bad for a one year-old.
Finse was born into a life of privilege in Highclere Castle — which serves as the setting for much of the popular PBS period drama, Downton Abbey. (Finse’s mother, Bella, is the real canine lady of the manor; other dogs have been used on the television series.)
After spending her early puppyhood romping through the castle and its thousand-acre grounds with her nine brothers and sisters, Finse became a Christmas gift from Lady Carnarvon to the daughter of Viking Cruises‘ founder, Karine Hagen, a Vice President of the family-run company.
And it didn’t take long for Finse to become accustomed to the travel-led lifestyle enjoyed by the canine companion of a cruise line VP.
Finse’s owner, Karine said: “I am able to take Finse with me when I am on location filming for Viking, and telling stories of our itineraries through the eyes of a sweet and curious Labrador puppy seemed like a gentle and amusing way to teach children about the world. The books will hopefully also give our guests a way to share their travels with the children in their families.
“Finse is full of surprises; she even appeared in Amsterdam earlier this year [at a ship naming ceremony]. During Easter, she joined us on a family skiing holiday in Zermatt – she truly is a world explorer.”
So far, Karine has published two books about Finse’s travels. Finse’s First Journey, which sees Finse recalling his early days at Highclere and his first trip to London, and Finse Explores Europe, Finse’s first trip on a Viking itinerary, down the Rhine.
Ultimately, there are 12 books planned for the series, which will see Finse’s diary fully booked with trips onboard Viking ships in Russia, Egypt, France, China and America, to name just a few.
The books will be available to buy from Amazon and on iTunes as well as from the Highclere Castle giftshop and onboard Viking Longships.
Read about Downton Abbey’s connections to cruising.
Check out our slideshow from the Viking River/Highclere Castle tour.
For more gratuitous puppy cuteness from Finse and her kin, check out the video below of Finse’s homecoming at Highclere Castle.