Monday, October 31, 2011

Ready to Trick-or-Trick?

Never a dull moment at SP Kennel!

Guess that SPK Dog Week 1!

(Picture is not of the mystery dog)

Since each dog at the kennel has their own personality and history, we thought it'd be fun to see how well the SPK followers know the athletes. Every other Monday, we'll post "Guess that SPK Dog" at 8:00 AM EST, and the first correct answer posted in the website comment box wins a SP Kennel t-shirt! Limited one shirt per person.

Game #1 Dog Clues

1. I'm a rock-solid wheel dog, although I'm definitely not one of the biggest.

2. Occasionally I get distracted and leap out, biting at pieces of grass as we run by.

3. I have more energy than a wind-up toy, so I'm often hooked up last.

Who am I?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Outlaw Litter

Bridgett introduces the "Outlaws"....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Wes & Wendy's Weather

Wes and Wendy Brightman are world travelers spending this year in Alaska. They are volunteering at SP Kennels for our 2011/12 season. They will be writing an update every other Monday for the blog spot.

It’s been great weather since we arrived in the beginning of October- cool and crisp, sunny and pleasant, just the right type of weather to take the “Latino” puppies out to the field and play. We experienced little evidence of the cold harshness of the North. Suddenly, the temperatures dropped and it was dark in the morning when we got up. Our first light fluffy snow happened last week. It was a bit wet and perfect for snowballs, which we tried out on unsuspecting people in the dog yard.

With the appearance of snow, our activities suddenly changed from “preparing” for snow, to working in the snow. The dogs all got their new straw; the wheel barrow was sent to the shed for storage; and a sled appeared to carry water buckets from the “winter water” in the main house to the dog yard. This makes feeding time so much easier, especially with our new feeding deck near the dogs.

Though it is snowy out and 15 degrees during the day, we don’t quite have enough snow to pull out the dog sleds. We have about 4” of snow and continue to use the ATVs to work the dogs during their training runs. We are looking forward to more snow this week, and hope that maybe by the weekend we’ll get 3-4 more inches as predicted. It looks like it’s going to be a great season.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Latino Litter @ 9 Weeks Old

left to right: Mismo, Pepe, Izzy, Felix y Nelson

Thursday, October 20, 2011

My "New" SP Kennel Dogs

"My dog" Teddy -- seen here in a photo I took at the end of the 2006 Iditarod in Nome -- has officially retired from racing. She is one of the truly great team dogs of all time and the dog who first really hooked me on sled dog sports.

By all accounts, Teddy is enjoying her status as a doyen of SP Kennel, spending her days between lounging around her dog house and training youngsters about what it means to be a sled dog who never quits.

Teddy is a "dog-dog" -- as opposed to a "people-dog" -- and belongs with her pack mates at the kennel, rather than somewhere else on someone's couch. She may be retired from professional racing, but she's got a long, full coaching/training career ahead of her. Like most humans who have ever met her, I have always been in awe of Teddy, and I have been honored to sponsor her for the past five years. Thank you, Teddy, for everything you are.

 Aliy called me the other day to ask which dog's sponsorship I wanted to pick up now that Teddy is retired. We both had a good laugh, actually, because the answer to that question was decided two seasons ago when I pointed to a very special puppy with whom I bonded the moment we met and said, "I dibs that dog!"

Mac is now officially "my dog" and I wish him all the best as he becomes all that he can be. One of the truly great things about SP Kennel is that every dog is recognized and respected as an individual. Mac may turn out to be a long-distance racing dog, a middle-distance racing dog, or even a freight dog. We don't know, and we don't care. We only want what's best for him. He's an outstanding canine, full of life, energy and love. My life is better for knowing him, and I look forward to being a part of his future… Whatever it may be. Get after it, Mac!

 I have also decided to "go public" and "make it official"… Happy is "my dog" too!

Some of you may recall that Happy and I have a special relationship, made famous by a kiss. It is so hard to describe Happy in a few words, because just when you think you've got her figured out she completely surprises you.

She acts like an idiot most of the time, but she adapts easily to whatever is thrown her way. She'd never raced in her life, then finished the Iditarod. She barks her head off at the kennel, then she behaves like a princess when staying at a fancy hotel. She constantly does "the Happy dance" like a dervish, then sits as quiet as a mouse on an airport waiting room chair. There's something about Happy that has always amazed and inspired me, and I bet that's true for many of you as well.

I don't know if Happy will ever race again, and I honestly don't care. She's already proven herself as a fantastic, amazing dog, far beyond any expectation or imagination.

What I do know -- and care very much about -- is that one day Happy and I will be together. Whether we're driving cross-country in my rig, open-ocean sailing or just hanging out, she'll look at me -- probably like it's the first time she's ever met me -- and say, "Hi, I'm Happy! I'm always happy! That's why they call me Happy!"

(Note to Aliy: That's me saying "I dibs Happy in her retirement!")

 To Mac, Happy and all the fantastic dogs at SP Kennel, I wish you a great season and another fine year of a dog's best life…

 Love, Macgellan

Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's that time again...Fall Training!

Training for the 2011-2012 racing season has begun, but as you'll see in the video, the adult dogs aren't the only ones getting ready...

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Puppy Update

The Twins

Because of the unseasonably warm weather in Interior Alaska, ChaCha and her pups were able to move outside today. The little rug-rats and "her majesty" were feeling a little confined inside the house. They are now settled into a large dog house in a kennel next to the Quito/Biscuit pups.

Their eyes will be open soon!

There are three here ... can you find them all?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

More exciting news!

We are pleased to welcome three new healthy puppies to SP Kennel.

ChaCha was bred to Paul Gebhardt's primary leader and "super dog", Lieutenant, two months ago. Since then, we have been waiting on pins and needles for the results.

As many folks know, ChaCha, is a healthy, happy retired "All-Star" here at the kennel. Her pregnancy seemed normal and our only worry was that she was older (10 years old).

ChaCha went into labor during the early morning - acting very restless in the house. She was moved to the whelping box. Her contractions started and all looked on schedule, but no puppies came. More time passed and no puppies came. She looked intense, but confused. Something started to seem very wrong. Through physical examination we determined that there was a puppy in the birth canal, correctly positioned, but there was no movement.

After several Vet consults, ChaCha was taken to the hospital. X-rays showed normal puppy positioning and manipulation still revealed a puppy in the canal. "It should be happening."

After no success, the veterinarians decided that a c-section was necessary. The entire staff at North Pole Vet Clinic prepared for the procedure. Having a litter of puppies all at once needed many hands.

Aliy was allowed to stay with ChaCha during the surgery and watched as the doctor was amazed to find the problem ... twins! That's right two puppies sharing one amniotic sack and one placenta. The doctor even had a difficult time removing the larger than average "puppy package" via c-section. One can imagine ChaCha's predicament.

All pups are home and healthy. ChaCha has recovered from surgery and besides having a shaved belly looks no worse for wear. We are however, keeping a close eye on the family.

For all of you biologists: It is interesting to note that the twins were one tan girl and one white boy. Therefore, they were not identical twins.