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!
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.”
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.