In the previous post, I mentioned that we now have a half dozen retired dogs at SP Kennel. I did not mention ChaCha or Rambler in the post. Quite a few SP fans took notice of their absence and have since asked about them. I guess, in life, we are told to accept the good with the bad. But, honesty… sometimes sadness prevails over logic. Anyhow, I just couldn’t get myself to write anything about the passing of these two great dogs. I will do that now.

ChaCha is no longer with us. Her life was amazingly full and she lived to be nearly 15 years old. She was an fantastic racing dog and a great ambassador for the sport. She lived out a full life at SP Kennel. Her favorite spot the last few months was snuggled in the coffee table crate that is in the center of the house. On top of the crate we would often set photos, fan mail or race paraphernalia. So she was the “center” of the kennel until her very last days.

HERE is a post that was published when ChaCha turned 14 years old. She was an exceptionally gifted sled dog, but she was also a sweet girl who loved everyone.

Most of all, we miss her generous kisses, her perky ears and her competitive bark. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t see her personality and physical traits as we look out at her offspring here at SP Kennel.

We were extremely fortunate to walk alongside such a phenomenal dog.

RamblerLamb chop – persevered for several years after being diagnosed with Cushings. This disease was not kind to him. He lost most of his hair and had to wear a long sleeved fleece jacket most of the time.

Rambler was able to travel with the team even in the end. He was present for the 2017 Iditarod Ceremonial Start in Anchorage and cheered loudly from the sidelines. He lived to be 9 1/2 years old and was a very happy soul despite his sickness.

HERE is a video of Rambler prior to Cushing’s disease and HERE is a post about him after his health issues sidelined him from racing.

Rambler’s legacy is a 2nd place finish in the Iditarod and a 1st place finish in the collection of dog toys. He absolutely loved his stuffed animal collection. Dr. Rose gave him his last stuffed animal just before he left us.

Rambler was most happy when he got a dog biscuit. He was our official biscuit “taste tester” and sampled every dog treat that came on the property.

Rambler reminded us that life is not always easy and can be short; but do your best to enjoy your biscuits while you can.

29 Responses

  • Aliy, having lost three dogs in the last few years that were 12 – 17 years old (we had them from puppies), Diana and I can sure relate to your loss. Capture their memories to smile at in the future. We have a small plaque that says "you were my favorite hello and my hardest goodbye" with their pictures around it.

    Wishing you, Allan and all the other SPK residents (2 or 4 legged) the best.

    Harry & Diana Workmon

  • Both Rambler and Cha Cha were special dogs, and I know their loss is very hard. Cha Cha leaves a lasting legacy to the kennel and your hearts. I was honored to meet her and remember her sweet loving nature.
    And Rambler was so lucky to have humans who tried so hard to help him manage his disease. And he returned that love.

  • I love this post!
    I am so sorry for your loss.
    You lost one of your most cherished older dogs near the same time you lost one that needed extra attention and loving. Two extremely difficult losses. I am thankful for your remaining family members available to give you kisses and hugs.
    Thank you Rambler for the excellent advice, "that life is not always easy and can be short; but do your best to enjoy your biscuits while you can."

  • I am so very sorry for your loss, Aliy, and Allen! No matter how many dogs, or cats for that matter, we have, each one leaves a special and wonderful footprint in our heart that is unique and irreplaceable!
    Just know that Cha Cha and Rambler are now in Heaven, free of pain and suffering. And they are looking at you and blessing your souls!

  • We are so sorry to hear that ChaCha and Rambler are no longer physically at SP Kennel, but we know that their spirit remains in the hearts of you and Allen, your crew, your remaining athletes and your fans around the world. Your dedication to and love for them through the end is exemplary. Thinking of you at this difficult time.

    Erie, PA

  • I was so blessed to meet Rambler at the hotel you stayed at in Anchorage in 2017. What a sweet, gentle fellow. I know you will miss him. What an impact these dogs make in our lives in so many ways.

  • So sorry to hear of the passing of two Great dogs. Death is never
    easy but the memories last forever. Having seen Rambler last summer
    he was happy but his disease was horrible for sure. Loved the picture
    of him on the back of the 4 wheeler. A real trooper! May you all at
    SP Kennel find peace in these dogs memory.

  • As I am sure many others are doing after reading this last post, I am writing this with tears streaming down my face because we can empathize with what you have gone through. Charlene and Lisa eloquently expressed what many of us feel. This is one of those times that is it is impossible to "suck it up Buttercup".

  • Well I wish I could say I couldn't relate but we lost our 11+year old Teddy last month & our 13 1/2 year old Holly in August. I am so sorry for you Aily, Allen & the rest of the crew at the kennel. I can't imagine how much love you have for all your dogs to keep loving them and then more and again. I'm convinced they are here to make us better people and the world a better place.
    We were volunteers for the first time this year-it was a blast and great to finally see the famous Aily smile in person-it's infectious. Thanks for all that you do.

  • Awww, such sweet sorrow to lose a fur baby. Two is twice as hard. Seeing the lineage in the dog yard must comfort you some. Hugs are being sent your way.

  • This is such a great tribute to these awesome dogs. Thanks for sharing the good and the bad with your fans. In an interview a few years back, Dee Dee Jonrowe said "the only fault I find in dogs is that they don't live long enough". I agree! RIP sweet ChaCha & Rambler. Please accept my condolences Aliy, Allen and SPKennel folks that knew these dogs so well.

  • I'll never forget ChaCha. Her son Rambler was so sweet, too.

    Love to the family, 2 and 4 legs,


    P.S. For those who have not watched it – search the dog log "chacha" – make sure to scroll down to Jan. 20, 2009

  • Thank. you or sharing as you do and as with life so parting and losing wonderful friends who have meant so much as a part. I am sorry for your loss and can empathize as a pet owner myself, have lost some dear ones to me also. Bless you for the work you do and the joy you bring to so many and care and love you give to the sport.

  • So sorry to hear of the passing of these amazing athletes…they certainly lived full and adventurous lives at SPK. Just like you said, all you have to do is look out into the dog yard to see Cha Cha everywhere…and I'm sure each time you give out biscuits you will smile for Rambler…now I'm all teary eyed…time to give my dogs some hugs…enjoy each moment forever and always.

  • This one is very sad, the saving grace though is they both lived a full and exciting life doing what they love best. They also could not have been part of a more prefect team and home as they were at SP Kennel.
    Reading and viewing the video makes me appreciate my 4 legged kids here and think how hard it would be if any of them were no longer here.

    Thanks Again for this posting.

  • Rest In Peace sweet ChaCha and Rambler. What a blessing you were to SPK and the sport!

  • It's hard to picture : Cha-Cha gone. What a great soul and outstanding sleddog. As some other friends she 'll be waiting patiently on the other side to greet and accompany you further on.

  • Oh Aliy and Allen, sitting here with tears in my eyes. As the owner of a recreational team I know how hard it is to say goodbye to our children way to soon. I feel like I knew these two personally since I've been following your kennel from way back when. May God bless you and help you through the sadness, and soon only good memories will prevail. Chacha's spirit will be present in your kennel forever just like Skunk. I have no doubt that I'll get to meet Chacha someday and I'm looking forward to give her a big hug and thank her for the joy she has provided through the years. May you have a blessed summer. Markus

  • Everyone must take the journey – And ChaCha and Rambler had a most wonderful journey down the road. We all need to remember to enjoy our biscuits….And I'm hoping that the four-legged and two-legged members of SP Kennel can continue to enjoy their own journeys AND know the ones that have completed theirs on Earth are with them always.

  • I am so sorry for these losses and understand very well how hard it must be to write about them. You always love these dogs so dearly and treat them with such great fondness; I want to be more like you.

  • So sorry to hear about ChaCha and Rambler. They are special in our hearts as ChaCha was Beemer and Viper's mother, and Rambler beloved brother. We can be assured that they has the BEST life at SPKennel.

  • ChaCha and Rambler, if love could have saved you, you would have lived forever. You are both loved by many. Farewell my friends.

  • Sorry about Cha Cha and Rambler. I believe our middle child, Kate, spent a lot of time with Cha Cha when we visited. I told her the news last night. 🙁

    Steve Laine

  • Farewell Cha Cha and Rambler may you be pulling hard but with joy over that Rainbow Bridge, for a life well lived 🌈🐾🐾 🐾🐾❤️🖤. Condolences to Aliy and Allen Extra hugs and pats for the 🐾🐾and dog biscuits all round 😘Love From Denali and Joanne , Melbourne, Australia xo

  • A few tears. I wish dogs could live fifty years but they don't. ChaCha and Rambler are waiting at the Rainbow Bridge now, healthy and strong. They have lots of company and I know their time passes fast. Hugs to the SPK crew with these new empty spots still leaving some sadness. ANd bless you for giving these and others a life of love and care to the very end.

  • We are so sorry, to hear about the passing of these two magnificent animals. They lived their lives, doing what they loved to do so very much……Mush. They were able to race on two of the Best teams out there!. They were right at home, at all times, as they knew that both Aliy and Allen, were at the helm. You both gave them a beautiful life. You WILL meet again one day. God Bless.

  • Oh dear, I have been pre occupied with life and did not check in to catch this post and many others … so sorry to hear this news. Always a part of your family and your heart so touching special too when you see the traits passed on.

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