Waylon and Torch have retired from SP Kennel!

It is always a big decision for us to retire someone and especially someone as iconic as Waylon or with as much potential as Torch. Check out this story (click on red link) for some more information about dogs that have been retired recently from the kennel and our philosophy of “the right home for the right dog at the right time”.

Waylon has done it all! His race history is as long as your arm and everyone loves him. He has never looked like a typical sled dog – Aliy described him as “a crazy faced, brilliant blue-eyed, opinionated, loud, talented fellah. But, what often strikes people is the fact that he has literally ZERO husky fur, enormous rabbit ears and long thin legs. And… he weighs in at just over a sack of dog food = 40 pounds.”

Waylon is as tough and competitive as they come. In the Iditarod 2014 when the team battled through the ground blizzard at Safety, Aliy promised him he could sleep in the bed if he made it all the way to Nome. And he did!

Waylon has a unique “frog bark” and was always so enthusiastic, especially at the start line!

Around this time last year Waylon overcame another challenge when he lost a toe! Check out this story (click on red link) for more information about that. It didn’t slow him down too much and he finished the 2017 Iditarod on the Black Team with Allen.

Torch had enormous potential but was never able to fulfil his sled dog destiny due to an internal thermostat/overheating issue that showed up periodically. When he did run he was strong, focused and talented but we realised he was going to be better suited as a pet and recreational sled dog.

Torch raced in the Solstice 100 and Copper Basin 300 in 2015 with Spencer who said “A yearling who had an exceptional attitude. He always wanted to go and even in the middle of the race was barking while charging up the hills and keeping everyone excited and in good spirits. He ate everything that I put in front of him, and was always the first to rise from the straw and show he’s readiness to hit the trail.”

Torch is on the softer side of the continuum of sled dog personalities and spent a few months living with his much smaller but far more boisterous half-sister, Cayenne, when they were puppies after we separated her from her brother Champ because she would pick on him.

Waylon and Torch travelled together to New Zealand to go live with Sheryll. Sheryll has been Torch’s sponsor since his puppy year and has visited the kennel a couple of times to bond with him. She even travelled to Nome to see the teams cross the finish line of the 2017 Iditarod. Yes, New Zealand is a long distance from Two Rivers, but with a coordinated effort between us, North Pole Veterinary Hospital, an export agent, the quarantine facility in Auckland and Sheryll, they arrived safely and have embraced their new lives.

We’ll let Sheryll take it from here…

Photo: Auckland Quarantine Ltd

“I actually feel like I have won the lottery! Torch and Waylon have been with me for three days and it has been pure magic! They have settled in really well and are extremely cute to watch when they are all snuggled up in their baskets at bedtime.

There are certainly challenges ahead for them – they have moved to a coastal town on the east coast of New Zealand, in the beginning of summer! Everything probably sounds and smells different to them, but they have a remarkable outlook on life and take everything in their stride. 

I have been completely touched by the amount of gifts that have come flooding in in anticipation for the boys arrival; expensive dog food, blankets, high end treats and copious amounts of TOYS! My family, workmates and extended dog family (new and old) are also very excited to have them here in Napier.

They have a new ‘brother’ Rogue who thinks they are pretty cool, and Waylon is enjoying the company of a very pretty Siberian Husky ‘cousin’ called Kaia. Salem, their Border Collie ‘cousin’, will enjoy herding them for years to come! We have taken them out on a few walks and already look forward to winter so we can pop their harnesses on them and take them for a run!

Waylon and Maia
Torch and Rogue
Torch and Rogue
I can’t thank Aliy and Allen enough for this wonderful opportunity! Everyone knows SPK breeds great sled dogs – but how many people know they breed great pets as well?”

Thank you to Joy and Nick Weis and Dow who sponsored Waylon throughout his career and to everyone who ever joined Waylon or Torch’s Fan Club. We know you will miss seeing them at the kennel as much as we will but hope you are excited to hear about their interesting new lives.

13 Responses

  • Congratulations to Torch, Waylon, and their new family! I know they will enjoy all the adventures to come. Keep us updated!

  • Torch & Waylon enjoy your retirement! Have fun with your new playmates Kaia, Rogue, and Salem. I am sure Sheryll will shower you with love beyond measure. Have loads of fun in New Zealand.

  • Wow! Waylon and Torch just came to live in my little town in New Zealand! This SP Kennel fan may just spot them out and about one day!! Warm welcome to Napier Waylon and Torch! xx

  • WOW…Waylon and Torch…..Sheryll DID win the lottery!!! They look so happy in their new surroundings! What a trip! I remember hearing Waylons frog bark….it was the strangest sound I ever heard a dog make! Im going to miss seeing ole 3 toed in the rosters. Torch looks SO handsome with those big baby blue eyes….looks like you two are starting a GREAT Life – Part II!

  • As a fan of Waylon I will miss those pretty blue eyes. Sheryll did win the lottery with those blue eyes! I’m sure it is a fantastic home for them both. Enjoy retirement! Now Allen & Aliy have to make a trip to New Zealand!!

  • Torch looks incredibly happy and Waylon, well, he looks like the climate of New Zealand will suit him just fine. Best wishes to Sheryll and all of her canine friends.

  • PS – We’ve read lots of posts this year about dogs going to their right home and at the right time, but what about puppies, the new generation? Having the new generation takes some of the sting out of letting the older generation go – know what I mean?

  • Happy retirement Waylon & Torch. Will definitely miss Waylon’s pretty blue eyes. They look happy. Congratulations Sheryll.

  • Gonna miss them but I can see they are already happy in their new home so farewell and hail to Waylon and Torch. Thanks to SPK for always doing what is best for the dogs even if it means letting some of the very loved ones go.

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