Recent Retirees

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed a few dogs missing from the Team Cards / Fan Club page so we thought we would get everyone up to date with all the recent retirees. (Click on the red links on their names to take you to stories we already have published.)

It is bittersweet to retire one of our friends from the kennel but our philosophy always has and always will be “the right home for the right dog at the right time”. We agonise over these decisions and a few tears are shed but the decision is made in the best interest of the dogs… and after all – it should always be about the dogs!

You know about Sissy and Scooter who moved to Ohio to live with Tim, Holly and Noodle. They are very happy and Noodle is loving having them around.

Mac is just down the road at Wes and Wendy’s peony farm. We will get to see his lovely mug often!

Wedgy is continuing her new role as personal trainer and companion for Melissa and Mike in Oregon. Here is the latest from Melissa:

“My Princess Wedgy is doing great. Wedgy is actually omnivorous and spent the summer eating all our cucumbers from the garden and the raspberries from our berry plants.  Now that it is fall she picks apples that hang down low on our apple trees and munches them down core and all.  No, she’s not starving; I’m feeding her plenty of food and treats!

Here’s a pic of her on this morning where we ended up at the pet store and she is always amazed at the vast riches of open tubs of biscuits. We had just left and she sat very nicely outside the door while I dug out one of her treats.  Now that she knows this place is here, she tries to direct all our walks so that they end up at this door.” 

Hotshot has a new love in his life in Nome. After a rather stressful start, Scruggs is now living up large in Anchorage with Barbara and Molly.

Chemo is loving life with Mary Beth, Elizabeth and his two German Shepherd siblings in the Adirondacks.

Woody is now living full-time with Chris has a new mission in life.

Torch and Waylon have also retired from SP Kennel and are about to embark on a rather large and excellent adventure. We will tell you all about that soon!

Brothers Pepe and Nelson have gone just down the road to long-time good kennel friends who have a commercial kennel where they will get to be big fish! The visitors to the kennel love them and being Iditarod dogs they attract quite a lot of attention. They are very happy hanging out with each other and will enjoy showing visitors to the Fairbanks area the local mushing trails.

Pepe was always such fun to have around and took after his uncle Tatfish in so many ways. His race history included the Iditarod, Copper Basin 300, Yukon Quest 300, Two Rivers 200, 100 and 50. He was probably the most honest dog in the yard. He tried harder and more enthusiastically than anyone. His four footed leap in the air upon seeing a harness was amusing until you try to put a harness on him. We never claimed that Pepe was the smartest fellah, bless him.

Nelson is a whirling dervish with non stop energy. He twirled like a top whenever he stood in one place. He added energy to every situation – whether it was wanted or not! Nelson is addicted to running and we will miss his sweet and enthusiastic manner.

Nelson’s race history included the Iditarod, three Copper Basin 300 and Yukon Quest 300 starts, Sheep Mountin 300 plus the Two Rivers 100 and 50.

Sincere thanks to all their sponsors Tim and Holly, Jeanne, Macgellan, Barb, Mary Beth and Elizabeth, Lori, Barbara, Heidi, Sheryll, Nick and Joy, Jenn, and Melissa and all of you that joined their fan clubs. We appreciate your personal connection with them and hope you are not too disappointed they are not on the roster this year. They are all having a blast in their new and different lives and we couldn’t be more happy for them all!

Another reason to love these DOGS

Chase, Jen, BJ, Derek, Ryne, Aliy

Sled dogs run and pull. They love it. It is part of their being and they do it every chance they get. So when Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association decided to have a 5K Canicross Event, many of us at SPK thought: “Oh my. Let’s do it!” Even Allen’s daughters, Bridgett and Jennifer, entered the race.

OK… so not all of us are in primo shape for a 5K run (hummmmmm…. Aliy.) But upon hearing that everyone in the neighborhood was gonna race, it was inevitable – Aliy had to run!

But, what dog to partner with Aliy? As we know, she is not the youngest or fastest runner. But, hey… she is not the oldest and slowest either. “She still has the enthusiasm of a youth and her mature body hasn’t let her down yet.” Sound familiar??? Of course it does… Aliy ran with OLIVIA. Just another reason that Olivia is one of the best (and most patient dogs at SPK.)

Overall, the race was great! Jeff and Junior took off like the rabbits they are and charged to the finish. Bridgett and Quito hotfooted the 5K like pros. Jennifer and Scout ran a stress free 5K and put another race under their belts.

Aliy well…. She and Olivia tried a little harder than they should have for the first race of the season. The two gals tried (unsuccessfully) to catch a team or two before the Pleasant Valley Store finish line. The gasping for breath wasn’t the most glamorous finish, but it was a finish all the same! You GO GIRLS!

And who do you think the baby sitter was?

Bridgett, Allen & River
Jacob, Jen, Khloe & Scout

Dog Fan Club is Open!

We know how much you love our dogs! You can now join their fan clubs! Can’t pick just one? No problem – you can join them all! 

Every two weeks (or more often, depending on what is going on) we make a random draw of all fan club members for a topical prize. Last season we gave away things such as signed CB300, Yukon Quest and Iditarod posters, signed YQ and ID race annuals, T-shirts and other merchandise and memorabilia.

Not only that, but the winning dog(s) get extra treats from the biscuit bucket (and if we are honest, most times they share with the rest of the yard).

This season our more informal fan club pictures were taken by great kennel friend Barbara Swenson. She knows the dogs well and has managed to capture some absolute classics! Check out Chevie’s gorgeous long neck, Chipper’s antenna ears and Ernie’s big nose! These pics are a wonderful companion to their more formal glam portraits.

To join the Dog Fan Club go to our Become a Dog Fan page, choose the dog or dogs you wish to support and this will take you to a link to pay either by Paypal or Credit Card. You can also post us a check to SP Kennel, PO Box 16226, Two Rivers, AK 99716.

Every dog fan goes in the draw to win a prize every fortnight and will receive an End of Trail postcard from Nome at the end of the season. See the Become a Dog Fan page for more details.

New Team Cards with Portraits

The new team cards will be up shortly but here is a sneak peek! We think you will agree that Jeanne has, as always, done a fantastic job of capturing personalities in these pictures. Thanks Jeanne!

As always, the yearlings, who were of course puppies from last year, give us an idea how much a young dog can mature in one year. Check out the side-by-side comparisons of the Olympics!

Bronze 2017
Bronze 2016
Gold 2017
Gold 2016
Prata 2017
Prata 2016

It is always hard to pick favourite pictures as they are all so great but here are a few that, for one reason or another, stand out to me.

I just LOVE this one of Scout – he is such a handsome boy but the look on his face in this is so “Scout” – it’s like he’s saying “You and I both know that I’ve got this! Those youngsters don’t know anything.”

Although Commando has a fun side to him, often in his photographs he will stare straight down the lens and looks so serious. I think this picture of him shows a slightly softer side to this talented boy.

Then… this one is quite the opposite. Loud-mouth, goofy Rodney looks quite cool and calm in his picture. Maybe he is maturing…?

There were, of course some out takes that I know you’ll enjoy!

Woody’s New Mission

At five years old we decided it was time for Woody to move to his new life. Those following us for the last couple of seasons will know that Woody and Chris formed a really strong bond and became the best of mates. Woody is now living full-time with Chris.

Woody’s racing career started a little later than his siblings due to some minor injuries keeping him out of the big races. In his break through-year in 2017 he raced everything: Copper Basin 300, the Two Rivers 100, the Northern Lights 300, Yukon Quest 300 and culminated in him making the Red Team for the Iditarod! We were all so very proud of him!

We’ll let Chris tell you about Woody’s next move:

Woody had an incredible summer on the Mendenhall Glacier. All the tourists love him. He has this habit of walking over and leaning on people that can melt even the hardest of hearts. He is smart and his confidence has been growing steadily. At 5 years old, Woody has finally found his groove.

This winter, Woody is getting a break from competitive mushing. I am planning on running the Solstice 50 with him, but his main focus is an organization called Noble Paws. Based in Fairbanks, Noble Paws works with people with mental and physical disabilities and kids in high-risk situations. Woody and the other dogs give these kids something to focus on. I think we all know how much of a healing effect dogs can have. Woody has been more than happy to help! 

If you want to check up on Woody and his new buddies, and maybe support a good cause, you can visit Noble Paws on Facebook or their main website noblepaws.org

Sincere thanks to Heidi Phillips who sponsored him from a youngster – and to all his fans over the years. We appreciate your support for The Woodster.

Big Puddles

Winter is NOT here in Two Rivers yet. We still have plenty of big puddles and the dogs are happy about them. Mismo and Izzy lead a 14 dog team through many on a 2 hour training run this morning. (Team: Mismo & Izzy, Five & Tinder, Spark & Lydia, McCaw & Rodney, Chipper &Perky, Daisy & Barista and Violet & Dancer.)

New Log Homes

Scout has a new custom Alaskan log home.

For you diehard Scout fans… please note: Scout spends more time on his Thermarest dog bed in the living room than at his new log home. But when you’ve reached the premier sled dog status that he has, you’ve earned several residences. Next on his list: Condo in Florida? Cabin in the Rockies? Beach home in Hawaii?

Little did we know that a professional dog house log cabin builder moved into the neighborhood this Fall. Lucky us! (SP K definition of professional = has built more than one house.)

2017 Portrait Day

Portrait Day at SP Kennel is fun, exhausting and very, very satisfying. We know that our dog fans love these portraits as much as we do. We promise… you will see them very soon!

Actually, we put aside two days this year for portraits. Jeanne, our photographic magician, flew up to Alaska to get the job done. We can not say enough about her skills as a photographer – how do you do you always take photos and their eyes are open? – a dog person and generally… a good human being. We can not thank her enough. Throughout the two days she always kept her sense of humor – which can be challenging as dog toys, gloves, collars and various dog attention getters were hurled at your head (sorry we hit you that one time!)

We had great helpers: thanks to Jeanne, Jeff, Jeri and Linda.

Chipper is prepared for her session.

The dogs were brought into the dog room, weighed, fitted for a new collar (BLING!) and went over to the ‘make up artists’, if necessary. Then they were ready for “lights and action”. The garage was set up as a studio: flashes, soft box, background and flooring. Each dog was set on ‘a mark’ and asked to line up on a quarter turn. Of course every obliged perfectly. Very few dogs needed only one shot: Barista and Dutch – thank you very much!

Lydia gets her cheeks cleaned

Most needed about half a dozen photographs. Several needed MANY plus a ‘redo’ session: Perky, Rodney and Scooby.

On Day Two much help was needed by the the ‘make up artists’. All dogs ran in harness earlier that morning and the mud puddles were everywhere.

The dogs are used to Portrait Day and they enjoy it. It is often a ‘free for all’ when they come galloping into the dog room for garage for weigh in day, so these two days they needed to show a tad more patience with the studio and lights set up. But even the youngsters: Bronze, Gold and Prata were cooperative. Prata most of all.

Prata her turn waits patiently with her new BFF, Jeff.

Of course, there were many dog treats, biscuits and snacks. Sparky even convinced Linda to share her Nutter Butters. All in all 2017 Portrait Day was a huge success. We now have to make some picture selections and let the editing begin. Jeanne will take a few days at home to look through her work. She will get them back to us ASAP.

New Portraits will be on the Website October 15th along with the start up of the 2017-18 Dog Fan Club

 

 

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