The ins and outs of animal ownership in Finland.

The figures are staggering – of the 500,000 human inhabitants that call greater Helsinki home, the number of animals kept as companions are in the tens of thousands, according to a report by the City of Helsinki. Pretty amazing, when you think about space constraints and the responsibilities involved with being a pet owner – not to mention the considerable cost. Yet pet owners are undeterred. Helsinki dwellers are great fans of furry family members, regardless of their working hours and living in apartments. So, what drives people to share their lives with animals?

In the first of a five-part series, we take a look at game officials.

It is a Friday night in late January. At the ice hall in Hippos, Jyväskylä, an ice hockey game is looking to commence in less than an hour. Two off-ice officials, Marko Paassilta, 49, and Jenna Junkkarinen, 25, join 6D for an interview at the back office, donning their black down officiating jackets. They will assume positions beside the rink ten minutes before first face-off, but have agreed to shed light on their fascinating hobby before it.

After enjoying a long and fruitful career, what could be better than kicking back, knocking the top off a beer and surveying all of the good things you have contributed to society and the world at large. Right?

Well, this doesn’t seem to be the case for everyone. Increasingly, many are putting their hands up to volunteer their hard-won expertise around the globe, in places where it is needed the most.

David Gambarte moved here from Spain in January 2007 and lives with his wife in Espoo.

What do you do here in Finland?

I work as a partner sales manager in a Finnish software company, and I do everything I like: I participate in the literature circles organised in Helsinki, I have a radio programme, I have amazing friends and a family and in summer I often practice fly fishing.

Remembering to rewind your VHS tape before returning it may be a thing of the distant past, but the humble movie rental business is now facing more significant problems.

While downloading continues to steadily chew away the profits of the music industry, the humble movie rental business is haemorrhaging in similar circumstances.