There is one more 9 year old at the kennel: Rambler.
He is also part of the ‘Car Litter’ and is therefore a full sibling to Scout and Olivia.

While he may be at the kennel this Fall, he will not be in harness. Rambler was diagnosed with Cushings just over a year ago. This disease is very challenging to diagnose and to treat. We have been lucky to have done both somewhat successfully.

Basically, Rambler’s adrenal gland is overproducing the hormone, Cortisal, to a lethal degree. Too much of any hormone is bad and this one is no exception. Rambler’s overproduction of Cortisal has been reduced with a daily dosage of very expensive drugs. The drugs target the adrenal gland which is the organ that is responsible for producing Cortisal. So the primary and life threatening effects of Ramblers disease have been reduced but he still looks half dead to anyone who meets him for the first time.

A minute or two after a person gets to know Rambler (nicknamed ‘Lambchop’ for his resemblance to the cartoon hand puppet), they realize that he is still a vibrant, somewhat amusing, healthy-in-his-own-way, entertaining, sled dog (who YES… looks half dead.) Rambler’s husky coat — or lack of one — is really what makes him stand out from the rest.

If we are being honest, he adds absolutely no benefit to the Race Team this season. None. He might even subtract a little if you think about him riding on the back of the ATV as we train the Race Team.

But perhaps in the future, all competitive sled dog teams will include the position of a coxswain (like in rowing competitions). That way Rambler would be in charge of:

  • Providing motivation and encouragement to the team
  • Inform the team of where they are in relation to other teams and the finish line
  • Make any necessary race tactic calls

… he might even be better at that than a musher, eh?

But as Aliy will tell you, if you ever stop in for a cup of coffee, “I originally got into sled dogs because I liked dogs. Plain and simple. And you know what? I still like them today.”

Rambler will live at SP Kennel (usually curled up on a dog bed with whichever stuffed ‘Lampchop’ he chooses for the day) until the time comes when he can no longer hold his head high.

24 Responses

  • Crystal said
    Awe Rambler such a good boy. Even though he looks under the weather I am sure he is a very happy boy at SP, you guys are great! We love our four legged, furry family to the end. Thanks for the update on him and the pics.

  • Lovely and caring post re: Rambler.

    Best always to Rambler, who with his brothers the now retired Ranger (father of his litter of three "S" kids), Beemer, Honda and Viper are dear to those who have followed their exploits, I'll always care about, thanks so much for the info.

  • HI RamBam,
    He looks better this yr. "Get going lazy dogs" he says, from his perch on back of the ATV.
    Thanks for giving us a peek into the value or all dogs including the house doggies as well.
    Padee Fairbanks

  • EVERY dog needs to feel loved and secure. Rambler is so lucky he is both. Thanks for the update. We love keeping up on all our former friends (and thanks to these updates we get to feel like all the SP Kennel athletes are our friends).


  • Awww I've been enjoying the look into the team and it's sad to read of Ramblers troubles. But I can't imagine him being in a better place for love and care.

  • Oh this is really wonderful to hear because I know it was a struggle to diagnose Ramblers disease. I loved him when I met him and he is obviously still living the good life! Love to you all

  • Rambler…..good boy buddy!! So glad he has an awesome SPK Family to look after him!! Figuring out what is wrong "health wise" with a dog is difficult…even heart wrenching….but when you finally get it figured out wow, what a difference!! We recently went through a similar situation and now all is well with the right meds! You go Rambler…enjoy those ATV rides and share your knowledge with those young ones…like that little Gold nugget trying to share your bed!

  • What a special report on Rambler and how marvelous that he is still with you. "If you ever stop in for a cup of coffee"…..definitely on my bucket list!

    All the best from Erie PA
    Lisa & Charlene

  • I have enjoyed all of these updates on your dogs. SPK is set for an amazing year, especially after yours accomplishments last year.
    I appreciate this information on Rambler, and singling him out. We love our dogs, they are all so special, but when one has a health issue, boy it just pulls at the heart, and we would do anything to try to make it better.
    I wish Rambler as many happy days at SPK as he can handle. God bless you buddy. And, Aliy, I'm pretty sure I understand what you're going through with this. Lots of positive thoughts for strength and love headed your way.

  • Thank you for the delightful update on Rambler. I'm glad to see that you are giving him the opportunity to enjoy life and that he is cheerfully taking it.


  • Just love you all more each day. What a treasure of a photo with the pupster there and riding tall on the ATV. Thanks for all you do.

  • Yup–he does look bad but it's the unconditional love that Aliy &
    Allen, plus the SP Crew give Rambler I'm sure. Looks happy to me!
    Keep the Spirit Up Rambler!!!! He's got a new job!


    A quick search of "2009" posts brought up this one with an introduction of the dogs awaiting a run by Macgellan:

  • I am impressed at the care and love at SP Kennel. I have had the gut-wrenching experience of loving a number of my adopted sled dogs who came down with cancer/horrible illnesses/etc. And not for a minute would I ever think of not treating them with the best medical care available. Another reason I'm poor – specialized vet care is expensive. Most people would have put those dogs to sleep and not taken on the cost of treatment. But those people don't love their dogs, really. Sick and infirmed dogs deserve – in my mind – the best chance I can give them to live out their lives and survive…at least as long as they can live without a lot of pain and experience a happy doggie life. Thank you for being of the 'same mind.'

  • Wow, that 2009 video of Early Rambler is awesome! He looks so great! And there was Cha Cha, Chica, Quito, Biscuit, Nacho, etc… Some I know others I have just heard the name. And Olivia and her father Oddball. That is so cool to see where the white circle forehead genes came from. That was really fun. As others have said, it's so great that Rambler gets to go along for the ride and bark encouragement to the others in training. You all are a class act!

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