Today we induct Chica into our SP Kennel All-Star Hall of Fame!

Each summer we retire select dogs from their racing careers at SP Kennel. Our philosophy has always been and will always be: “the right home, for the right dog, at the right time”. The “right home at the right time” has come along for Chica now.

Leslie and Don have sponsored Chica for many years and upon hearing she was retiring from harness, they put their hands up to give her a new life in Anchorage. Her calm “out of harness” demeanour meant she was always going to be a great pet dog once her racing days were over. Leslie and Don have reported that “Chica is so into our daily routine. She is more settled every day and her confidence in this whole new environment improves by leaps and bounds daily.”

Chica is one of “the big three” grey “Mexican” named dogs that were the heart and soul of the successful SP Kennel teams for the last six years. She will always be remembered as one of the best dogs ever! To celebrate her retirement and her 10th birthday, we have inducted her as an SP Kennel All-Star!

L-R: Dingle, Scruggs, Quito, Chica during 2012 Iditarod – Photo by Sebastian Schnuelle

Chica is a multiple Copper Basin 300 and Yukon Quest champion and came 2nd in the Iditarod three times. She did all this reasonably quietly, and people could be forgiven for not even noticing her. She, of course, has a very famous sister and her brother Nacho is also kind of a big deal. Chica’s other siblings include the gorgeous and talented Bonita and the Paco who both reside in the Fairbanks area.

Aliy wrote in her 2012 Iditarod Trail Notes “Chica was the sweetheart of the team. This season, she was one of the hardest working dogs at the kennel, but got the least fanfare for her efforts. Her siblings usually “steal the show”, but the team would not have had the success that it did with out this fantastic dog. She was steady from start to finish and never asked for anything.”

Chica in swing during 2015 Yukon Quest – Photo by Mary-Beth Schreck

After Allen and the Black Team won the Yukon Quest for the first time in 2013 he described Chica as “an essential part of the winning team”. Then again, in the 2014 Yukon Quest she showed just how important she was to the team when she and Quito lead the team over Eagle Summit and went on to take the championship again.

Chica was easy to spot coming into a checkpoint, as Aliy or Allen were checking in with the officials, she would lunge in harness and bark making quite a fuss! At the other end of the checkpoint stay she would remain sleeping or lying down, looking like she was not into it at all. At the very last minute, when the musher would say “Ready?”, she would jump up and get right back into it. Chica learned to make the most of any rest stop!

Chica’s Mom, Venus, was a sassy, spitfire and her Dad is the famous Zorro from Lance Mackey’s kennel. Her bloodlines are phenomenal and she lived up to all that potential, and then some. As well as being a fantastic racing sled dog, Chica is also Mama to six current SPK racing dogs. Check out our latest Mothers’ Day post for more details.

It is a mixed blessing to retire any SP Kennel dog. Chica has meant the world to Aliy and Allen and many SP friends and handlers. But, by letting Chica move to a new home, she will now be the center of the universe for to very deserving people. She will bring great joy to more people than she has already has. Her life will be very different in her retirement years. As it should be. In addition, since she is leaving SP Kennel, she won’t have to share dog biscuits, dog beds, knuckle bones or even scratches behind the ear. Simply put… Chica deserves to be singled out. She will be.

Of course, we are sad to see her go. Don’t think for one minute that tears were not shed. But it would be self-centered, and certainly not in the best interest of SP Kennel as a whole to keep every dog, all the time, no matter what.

So, today is for celebrating the awesome champion sled dog that is CHICA.
Good girl Chica-choos. We love you.

Click HERE to see the All-Stars page and read about our other Hall-of-Famers.

23 Responses

  • Congratulations Chica! The tears can't help but flow. Only happy tears, though, for you have more than earned your couch potato years. Even in the few short years I've been with the kennel, I've watched you become a great mom and help the young ones learn the ropes of being amazing dog team members. I'm so happy you and Quito have been able to spend some time together before your retirement. I can't believe that you two are responsible for those renovations! I was going to peg that on the babies! Enjoy retirement life, Chica girl! You've more than earned it!

  • Good Luck Chica!!!

    The picture that Sebastian took in 2012 has always been my favorite.

  • So glad I'm not the only fan with tears. Wow good girl Chica! I think Quito was hiding because she wanted her sister to have her moment!
    Enjoy girl.

  • Make that two CT fans crying as they post!

    As already mentioned, tears of happiness for Chica to be retiring to her sponsors' home, staying "in the family" of SPK.

    I hope Chica will be able to keep up with the DOGLOG and videos of her kids in harness this season and be proud for them!!!

    And Congratulations on joining the "pantheon of great ones" Chica!!!


  • Padee says:
    yep its true for these SP Kennel pups.. Retirement is awesome! We will miss you Chica girl. love that you and your sis made it easy for Mom to take the stump out of the pen later. Good Job.
    thanks Aliy for a great "So Long" video
    Padee Fairbanks

  • What a wonderful video!!!

    Thanks for the memories (and I'm crying again, second time watching the beautifully spliced video), fondly,

    P.S. "Woof, woof"

  • Job well done, Chica! Your hard work is done, now it's time relax. I absolutely love how SPK takes care of their dogs from birth to retirement, making sure they retire well. As always, thanks for sharing these special, touching moments with your fans,

  • A few tears to see such a wonderful dog leave SPK but her pups, especially the Surfivers, will carry on her great tradition. Enjoy that well earned rest, dear girl, and carry the love of a former fan with you to the end!

  • Oh the happiness you will know, Chica! How lucky you are to have had such a wonderful career and now a wonderful retirement. Congratulations on all that you accomplished, so quietly and dignified. You deserve your Hall of Fame status! You will be in the hearts of SPK and their fans FURever!

    Lisa & Charlene
    Erie, PA

  • Ditto on all the above comments….way to go Chica Girl, way to go!!

    Leslie and Don… so nice to hear Chica is in a loving forever home…tears and all!! It must be so hard for everyone at SPK to see these super stars leave the kennel, but at the same time some happiness in the fact dogs like Chica will continue to be loved and appreciated in their new home!

    As for us fans….it's been an adjustment for us all season to see each "A" Team line up missing our beloved Mexican Super Stars…but we all take solace in knowing their genetics are in the young "up and coming" SPK pups! Chica will certainly be missed by us Fans too!

    Congrats Chica on your well deserved retirement, AND sounds like you scored an awesome new home to boot!

  • Well Done Chica! Will miss her but well deserved. Loved the
    picture of the awesome Four! Dingle, Scruggs, Quito and Chica!
    But we fans have to remember of the young ones coming up. Future
    looks BRIGHT! Thanks for the info and the new home for the
    Superstar Chica!

  • Indeed, it's bittersweet to see Chica retire. Your tribute brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for allowing us fans to say good-by to Chica as well. We'll miss her, but we also know that it been many a sled dog race well run.

    Congrats, Chica. I know you'll love your new "couch potato" status. You've earned it!

  • We love you Chica!
    I'm hoping for a long and enjoyable retirement for a dawg who deserves it all. I'm so glad that beside the Mac liter, Chica was "allowed" to breed again and give us the Five dawgs. We will be remembering the amazing Chica for many years.
    Thank you for the tribute.

  • I'm very glad Chica's getting an "early" retirement. I wish I had had more than two years with my special Ashley of the Woods. She is winding down now her life with me at sixteen and a half… Enjoy all the special love and attention, Chica!

  • Happy trails in Anchorage Chica with Leslie and Don l am sure they will give you all the love and attention you deserve Champ woof woof and big pats from Denali 🐾🐾 and Joanne 🇦🇺

  • Tears for me too, glad she will go to a home especially selected for her retirement! Hope you will get to see her when visiting Anchorage.

  • SPK always takes great care to find the very best home for their dogs, I know that. Still – earlier this year, even before I knew she was retiring, I wasn't sure I could bear her leaving. I am much better now – she has a great home.

    Thank you Leslie and Don for taking her into your lives.


  • I came to this late – but not too late for a congratulations to Don and Leslie! You have been bestowed a marvelous gift – and responsibility – to take care of the mighty and dear Chica in her retirement. Have fun and update us when you get a chance. It is so good to know that the SPK dogs get to retire to loving homes.
    Thank you Aliy and Allen for sharing this transition – hard as it was. But like you said – it wouldn't be possible to keep every dog and give them the retirements they so deserve. I cried, too. What a fantastic career behind that very special sled dog. Wow. Hope she can follow the dog log and keep up with all the SPK activities 🙂

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