Every year the SP Kennel human Family grows larger and larger. This season is no different. But we are also incredibly fortunate that most of the folks who have been an important part of Aliy, Allen and the dogs’ lives are still in contact with us today. Ryne, Spencer and Chris might not come indoors ASAP to chat with Aliy and Allen but they will certainly stop by to pet Nacho, cuddle with Commando or kiss Chena. It is always great to see our veteran SP Kennel crew!
Of course, the Aliy and Allen ‘combo’ are SP Kennel. Both of them have their specialities and neither of them want to “do it”, much less can “do it” with out the other. It seems to work. The pair have decided not to ‘hang up their harnesses’ yet. Their SP adventure: the challenge of maintaining a successful sled dog kennel as well as racing at the highest caliber still intrigues them both. Apparently… it’s who they are.
Moira is back at the helm of SP Kennel and will be navigating the crew through the logistics and racing of the Copper Basin 300, the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod. She takes pride in being the SPK dog sponsor and dog fan ‘go between’. Every season she tries her best to personally connect our fans, friends and sponsors with the special quirks and humors of the SP Kennel dogs and mushers. Quirks… what quirks?!?!
During the mushing off season, Moira is Tinkering away on a keyboard in New Zealand. There’s actually a lot she can do from 8,000 miles away and she’s figured out how to virtually “pet” the dogs from a far… now that’s a talent! Currently she is heading into winter number 12. Yup… cra cra. Moira’s three month “holiday” to the Northern Hemisphere is like no other holiday in the world. Welcome back!
Jeff is a new face to SP Kennel this season. He has been with us since 5AM on September 1st when we harnessed the first dog in Fall Training. He was a complete rookie dog musher back then but can no longer make that claim. Jeff has immersed himself in SP Kennel and dog mushing. He originally came to Alaska with Eleanor ~ a Malemute/ Wolf/ Husky/ Sheltie/ Mix ~ but has since acquired two sled dog puppies; Bonnie and Clyde. Lucky him, his wife, Jeri, likes dogs as much as he does!
Jeff has been on the sled runners more often than not. He completed his first race, the Two Rivers 50, and is signed up for the Two Rivers 200 in mid January.
Jeff comes to us from the US Navy. He is a former Navy SEAL who after completing two tours in Afghanistan has found a certain comfort and peace in being out in the Alaskan wilderness with the dogs of SP Kennel. Jeff’s bond with the dogs at SPK has him wanting to stay in Two Rivers and get a team of sled dogs of his own.
Sheila was born and raised in New Jersey but currently does research to improve the treatment of child malnutrition in West Africa. Currently when Sheila is not in the field, she is based in the SPK Handler Cabin at SP Kennel. It’s not quite Paris but the 150 sq ft residence has a spectacular view! This will be her first winter in Alaska and so far the temperatures suit her! She now has winter camp out experience at -20F.
Sheila has been working with this year’s amazing pups ~ Razz, Cloud and Peach ~ She is the SP K puppy “Wrangler”. Jealous? She is also putting in time on the sled runners.
Sheila has become our Food Drop specialist. She will continue to work with the younger dogs through out the season and be handler support on the coming races.
Wes and Wendy are just down the road and continue to be a huge part of running the kennel. We don’t know quite what we would do without them. Their love of dogs and knowledge of dog mushing is incredible helpful to us. Mac now lives a full-time pet dog life at their Howling Downs Peonies Farm.
Padee has been a frequent SP Kennel bootie Fairy and Choremaster for us. Kaz and Sam never pass up the opportunity to baby-sit Tig or pet Scooby. Mark will be helping at the races and with odd jobs when he can free him self from his awesome family and his job. Bridgett hopes to be at most of the races; advising, assisting and cheering the teams to the finish. And Jennifer and her family might tag along as well.
You never know when kennel Mom Mickey and Doug will show up in Two Rivers, Anchorage or Nome. Or for that matter, any or all of Allen’s family from Arkansas might appear, including his mom, Donnie.
There are so many more people who are important to SP Kennel – we THANK You all! It’s looking be a fantastic New Year!