SP Kennel is a premier sled dog racing kennel in Two Rivers, Alaska, dedicated to the individual dog through excellent health, nutrition, training and specialized care.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Sissy's and Scooter's New Lives

To continue with our philosophy of "The right home for the right dog at the right time", Sissy and Scooter have retired from their SP Kennel lives and now live together in Ohio with Holly and Tim.

Both gals have tremendous race histories and have contributed significantly to the success of the kennel over their careers. Sissy has four Iditarods, a Yukon Quest and multiple 300 mile races on her CV. Scooter has been down the Iditarod trail five times and three times down the Quest trail and is a Quest Champ! They took their roles seriously and worked hard.

They will also leave a huge personality gap in the kennel. Sissy is a silly, goofy gal with a famous moustache and love of life. Scooter is always happy, wagging her entire body all day long. We'll miss you Sissy and Scooter!

Sissy and Scooter

Thanks to Jeanne Schnackenberg for sponsoring Scooter throughout her career, Holly and Tim for sponsoring Sissy; and to everyone who joined the ladies' fan clubs over the years.

Holly and Tim:

Our animal loving family has sponsored Sissy over her race career. We had the opportunity to meet her and her sister, Scooter, twice on Alaska visits. These visits were so special and just stoked our love for both these girls. We dreamed of them coming to our home when they retired but knew time would tell if this was ideal for all of us (From Alaska to Ohio??) We knew our dog, Noodle, would enjoy their coming. He’s a gentle boy who enjoys other dogs and is down to play.

Well, SP family, we’ve witnessed with our own eyes that you can move from Alaska to Ohio and have a dog gone good life. It’s different for sure… but these ladies are game. It’s been so fun to see their personalities up close.

Scooter is very sweet, attentive, and a bit of a shy introvert. She loves her new “kennel house” with SP blanket (underneath the kitchen table). She can watch the kitchen action going on and maybe get a scrap of food if it drops! She greets us with her Scootie wiggle dance and flashes her doe eyes at us. Heart melt.

Sissy is an extrovert. She howls to go for her walks and prances around ready to roll. She is a funny, easy going, goof ball. When we put her in her harness though she becomes absolutely still until we tell her it’s time to go!
Both these ladies love to cuddle… and so do we! Noodle (12) has found new life with Sissy and Scooter. Tim laughs that Noodle probably can’t believe his good fortune, an “older male dog” with two beautiful spirited younger ladies!
Here’s the team (Noodle, Sissy and Scooter) taking on the dreaded squirrels. This is a fun activity while out on the deck.


Future plans- getting a dog powered scooter to go through the parks. Our hunch is Sissy and Scooter would really enjoy this.

It is a wonderful blessing having Sissy and Scooter with us. If any of the SP kennel team is around the Midwest and wants to visit… let us know. We’d love to make it happen. These sisters will be watching Team Black and Team Red closely… cheering all the way!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Load 'em up!

When we take dogs for a walk at SPK in the summer the process starts with the question: Who? As in, who is going today? Since we have quite a few dogs that want to go, the selection is always challenging. We have a spreadsheet (similar to the exercise training spreadsheet for winter training) that records on a day to day basis who goes on a walk, who is in a play pen or who trots around the yard while the humans do chores.

The dog walks usually involve 5 to 8 dogs. First we load the dogs up in the Dog Hauling trailer. There is a reason behind hauling dogs away from the property in order to walk. We can walk directly from our yard, but towards the end of the return leg every sled dog in the world has the "race to the barn" mentality. No matter how good of shape Aliy is in at the time... she can not keep up with a half dozen racing sled dogs! That would result in 5 to 8 dogs running around the yard, ransacking the dog room, visiting dog neighbors, flirting at the Heat Pen or sitting on the front porch of the main house. Worse than that it would require Aliy to sprint the last 1/4 mile of a previously relaxing dog walk in order to try and reach the property along with the dogs. To heck with that! Interestingly, the dogs still have the "race to the barn" mentality but it ends wherever we park the dog hauler... not at the kennel.

The load up is simple. We drive the ATV and trailer into the yard and park with the doors of the hauler open. The older dogs are pros and as soon as they leave their houses they sprint to the trailer and jump in. Here Outlaw's easy load up:

The younger dogs are still learning. Here you can see Gold isn't quite sure about climbing onboard. But once they jump into the hauler and find a handful of dog biscuits, the whole experience takes on a positive light!

The ride in the trailer depends on where the dog walk begins. The near walk begins only a mile from the kennel. The farthest we will travel in the trailer before we 'release the hounds' is about 2 1/2 miles. Some dogs ride quietly whereas other dogs are loud mouths: Willie, Bronze, Jefe and Rodney (of course!)

Friday, July 14, 2017

Early Retirement for "Princess Wedgy"

Wedgy was always that dog who had so much sled dog potential but never got to take on the world as she would have liked. She is built beautifully, has amazing genetics and is as enthusiastic as they come but unfortunately a series of niggly, minor injuries kept her from being the Champion Sled Dog we all believed she could have been.

At five years old we felt it was time for Wedgy to move on to her "Life Part Two". Melissa has been Nelson's sponsor for many years and has visited the kennel a number of times, so when she put her hand up for a retiree Aliy believed Wedgy would be a good fit.

We will miss Wedgy and her cheery disposition. Moira walked right by her kennel every night and morning on the way to the Mansion and EVERY time, Wedgy would come out of her house and get a goodnight or morning cuddle. So long Wedgy-Wedgy-Woo! Thanks to Barb Hartman, as well as Alice Holt and Sue Bates who sponsored Wedgy through her career, and to all of you who ever joined Wedgy's fan club.

Life Part Two for Wedgy involves the serious business of collecting squeaky toys and being Melissa and Mike's companion and personal trainer.


We'll let Melissa take up the story:

Wedgy is my precious delight. I have a webcam so I can watch her from work, and I love to spy on her adventures. She loves her stuffed squeaky toys and believes a girl can never have too many. She received a subscription to BarkBox, which is a service that sends a box of toys and treats each month (for spoiled dogs only). (See the video below for footage of her on the webcam with her toys and of her June BarkBox -Dinosaur edition!)

She and Mike go on hikes to Forest Park and visit the various drive-throughs where dog treats are distributed (the coffee stand, the bank, the gas station…) Wedgy loves riding in the car, especially if it involves going on a hike or to the neighborhood coffee stand where giant dog bones are handed out. The pic of her standing in the backseat of the car is funny because there was a line at the coffee drive though and Wedgy was getting tired of waiting for her treat. She kept standing up to check how many more cars were ahead and wondering ‘why is this line not moving any faster!’

I work long hours, and sometimes Mike is away for weeks at a time for work. So Wedgy interviewed and selected a nice lady named Cathie to take care of her daytime walking needs when neither of us can be there. Cathie will come and walk her once or twice during the day, and Wedgy LOVES her. That's right, Princess Wedgy has staff!

But Wedgy doesn’t just eat bones and play with toys all the time. She has some important jobs. Her secondary job is to keep cats out of the back yard and squirrels away from the bird feeders. But her primary job is to be our personal trainer and exercise coach. She gives great motivational pep talks when we’re out walking or hiking, always encouraging you to go a little further, move a little faster, try a little harder. No longer do I spend my evenings watching TV and eating jelly beans. Wedgy is even serving as coach to get me trained up so we can do some trail races together in the fall. Thank you Wedgy!

And thank you to the village that got her here – Wendy who fostered her and taught her about inside life, Linda who took care of her during her long layover in Anchorage, and Aliy for arranging her transport and especially for offering her to me. She is my princess.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Quick Summer Tour Of SPK

This is a video we took in June.

Yes, that is Scruggs in the pen with Willie in the first frame - the day before he left for Anchorage.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Scruggs has been found - Safe!!

Scruggs was found in Anchorage after two weeks of 'adventure'.
Thank heavens and thank everybody who helped.
Thank you
Thank you
Thank you

This the kind woman who found him.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Follow the Leader

Tinder, Decaf and Bean went to the creek last week. They were completely committed to the game "Follow the Leader" with Tinder as their leader. Wherever he went, they followed without hesitation. Poor little Bean was always in the rear. But... she never gave up the chase.

BEAN: "Hey guys... Wait up!"; "Ohhh, tail in my face! I can't see."

BEAN: "Oh crumb, I see water!"; "Wait for me Decaf! Wait..."

BEAN: "Oh boy! Cannonball!"