Thursday, October 31, 2013

Pud's Halloween

Halloween according to Pud.

"I went into the house this evening excited about visiting with my Mom, Auntie Bullet and that silly floppy eared black dog that chases balls around the yard. But when I got upstairs, the mushers were dressing us in odd dog jackets. It's not even cold inside. What were they thinking?!?

"So, I got dressed in this ridiculous outfit - obviously the mushers have their reasons. I usually get a biscuit when I come inside, so I waited at the door for a treat. The mushers kept giggling and saying ... UNCLE PUD WANTS YOU! Whatever.

"Soon there was more commotion and wouldn't you know... Ironman showed up at the door. Generally he's held in high regard, so I thought maybe he brought me a biscuit. No such luck. Ironman spent all his attention with the Lady Bug and the Blue Monster."

"So in the end I decided Ironman was a chump and I found my own biscuits on top of dining room table. It was a 'help yourself' kind of night."


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Updated Puppy Information

The Fire Litter (L-R): Chena, Spark, Coal, Torch, Daisy, Hotshot, Commando, Violet, Amber, Nomex and Tinder.

The Fire Litter are 3 1/2 months. Check out the Puppies Page.

We had a heck of a time getting individual glamour shots for the eleven pups. But, thank goodness Meghan and Moira are patient "puppy snugglers" and don't give up easily.

It takes very special individuals to be part of the SP Kennel Crew. We are very pleased that Meghan and Moira have committed to us for another season. A long mushing season lays ahead and there is always "to much to do."

As these guys know... there is never a slow day at SP Kennel!

So, thanks Gals for being who you are!

To the right: Moira and Spicy.
Below: Meghan and her two girls: Tina and Char.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Updated Racer and Yearling Info

The last two days at the kennel we have had our eyes focused on nothing other than our Mac laptops. Every dog needed a website update: photo, race info and personal profile. We didn't stop until we were done. Today with bleeding eyeballs, we have the Racers and Yearlings COMPLETE.

Check out the Dog Page.

We have also had a few revelations this past week. As Jeanne spent hours taking one portrait after another, she said "You know Aliy, some of your dogs look very similar." I thought... Really?!? What is she talking about? I've always thought that our dogs were pretty individual. Then I looked at the photos! I was wrong!

See if you can tell who they are without cheating!

Thank goodness there are still a few stand outs in the bunch!

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Glam Shots

Over the weekend, photographer and dog lover, Jeanne Schnackenberg, visited SP Kennel to take the "glam shots" for the web and for the dog sponsors' packet. With Aliy, Meghan, Wendy and Moira helping, she got some FANTASTIC pics of everyone!

Felix gets the glamour treatment

We used all manner of distractions: squeakers, kibble, falsetto voices and many, many gloves thrown towards (and sometimes at) Jeanne. And you wouldn't believe what went in to getting 11 puppies looking in the same direction at the same time!!! When Jeanne said "we've got it" we all jumped up and down, squealed and clapped then breathed a sigh of relief. The puppies looked quite amused.

Some of the dogs managed to nail it with just a few shots (Boondocks, Beemer and Tug) whereas Pepe and Scruggs took their chance to play to the camera a little longer! Boris has been renamed "Boris Zoolander" as he showed us his "Blue Steel" in almost EVERY frame!

Jeanne was able to capture pics that reflect the dogs' personalities so they are not just great photographs, they also tell a story. We're sure you'll love them as much as we do. There's some editing to do and once that's done we'll get the updated team cards up on the web as soon as possible.

It was such a fun day, thanks Jeanne!

Meghan takes a shot of Jeanne with the babies

- Moira

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall Projects

Fall training is well underway here at SP Kennel. The dogs are finding their rhythms as we increase mileage, and the yearlings are settling into the routine of running with the big dogs. With fall training comes a growing list of fall projects! As I wandered around the dog yard after our runs this morning, fixing a broken chain here or a bent swivel there, I was reminded of just how much goes into keeping the kennel ship shape (or should I say, “sled shape”).

One of our big projects this week is to insulate the dog barn. With its indoor/outdoor pens, this provides a neat housing option for bringing dogs in on some of those 50-below days. Other projects include building dog houses (with 11 puppies growing fast, we’re going to need a FEW more houses!), putting the dog boxes back on the truck, strawing houses, and keeping the much-loved-but-much-abused ATVs maintained. This last task always make me look forward to getting on sleds, as an SPK dog team is much more reliable (and sweet) than any vehicle!

- Meghan

L-R: The dog barn, pre-door and pre-insulation, Olivia enjoys her fresh straw bed.

Allen cuts plywood for dog houses.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Cooling off

At this time of year with the "warmer" temperatures and no snow it is important to find water on the trails for the dogs to drink and cool off a bit. We are lucky that just 2.5 miles from the kennel is Iron Creek and we can take the teams through several times during the course of a run. This morning I camped out there for a while to catch the teams going through.

Here's Allen with his team enjoying a splash down!

And Meghan, with SPOOG in lead!!!

- Moira

Monday, October 21, 2013

Puppies puppies puppies!

The puppies went for their morning walk and fun ensued...

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It doesn't get any better than this...

IV and Chemo were born three and a half years ago. Two cute little Alaska Springtime puppies. They were so furry that they looked like cotton balls and I thought about naming them "Johnson's" or even "Q-tip". This pair were the only puppies we had at SP Kennel in 2010. They were special.

A week after they were born, I heard a story about a little girl who was in the Children's Hospital in Seattle going through chemotherapy. This little girl, Ava, was our Two Rivers neighbor and a dog lover. Ava and her Mom, Dad and sister spent hours and days at the hospital. They always looked on the bright side and were up for any happy distraction. So, I asked them if they ever had the time could they help me name these special pups.

Mom said that Ava thought about it long and hard and came up with: "IV" and "Chemo". I am sure that those two words meant a lot to the entire family.

I am super excited to share with everyone that Ava came to visit IV and Chemo this Fall. She is a gorgeous, proud, strong cancer survivor. IV must have felt the connection because she shared many kisses and Chemo was happy to let her pull our some of his shedding fur. Ava had followed the pups last season and knew that both dogs had been on the championship Copper Basin 300 team, run the Yukon Quest (or YQ 300) and finished Iditarod. She said she'll continue to root for them!

Ava gets smooches from IV.

Here is a link to the website post we did 3 years ago: Introducing...

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fall sunshine

I jumped on the back of the four-wheeler with Meghan again yesterday as it was such a beautiful day! It's a little warm for the dogs - at about 45 degrees in the heat of the day - so we are still running early in the morning before it heats up.

Honda and Scout, Junior and Spoog, Puppet and Mismo, Dutch, Driver and Iron, Tug and Kodiak

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Training run through Iron Creek

Meghan and Moira took two teams, nearly the whole 'racing dog' yard, out for a 13 mile run on Monday. They took them through Iron Creek to cool down on the way home and Moira got some video to share with you.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Later that night...

Later that night, after Moira was fast asleep in the cozy SP Handler Cabin, the dogs welcomed her home.

The crew is back together again!

After a 26-hour flight from New Zealand, the final member of this winter’s crew has rejoined her Alaska family here at the kennel. Moira arrived late Sunday night and, after catching up on some much-needed rest, was up bright and early Monday morning to greet the dogs.

We are trying to take it “easy” on Moira for the first couple of days, as kennel life is quite the change of pace from her other job, with the Ministry of Education in NZ. Won’t last long, though, as there is always lots to do!

Right: Moira reunites with one of her favorites, Spicy.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Seeing Old Friends and Gaining New Ones

Allen and Aliy were in New England for just over four days. It was a whirlwind trip. Aliy has lots of "history" in area. She was born in New Hampshire and lived in the area as a youngster. (Although at a breakfast gathering her old family friends couldn't decide what kind of "accent" she now has!)

However, one of the best moments of the trip was seeing Hoss - an SP Kennel retiree who, after finishing Iditarod in lead, went to live with Tom and Cindy in Pennsylvania. He has had a rough year with shoulder surgery and a cancer scare. So, it was absolutely delightful to see him (and his humans)!

Aliy, Cindy, Hoss, Allen (and Tom who was taking the photo) had a great visit.

But, that wasn't all...

Other kennel retirees: KitKat, Garlic and Heidi came to join in the fun. And, Hunter, who is now the only brown dog in an all white dog kennel really stood out! Even Lourdes brought kennel mascot "Nome" to visit the mushers. What a treat! Aliy and Allen even ran into SP K dog sponsors and many website enthusiasts.

L-R: Hunter is ready to race; Kitkat, Garlic and Heidi show some love.

But, visiting old friends was only part of the trip. Aliy and Allen were graciously hosted by Christine and Kip at Seal Cove Kennel. The old New England farm house and barn are home to about 30 fantastic dogs and two humans. Breakfast was oatmeal topped with their homemade Maple Syrup and dinner was lobster (Kip and Christine are also fisherman) and beef from the local fields. It was hard to leave!

L-R: Christine's comfy old Farm House; Lobster dinner with friends.

Let's just say... Allen and Aliy left New England with a warm feeling from past times, present situations and future possibilities. It was a GREAT trip!

Pebbles waits at the window for Christine and Kip to come in from feeding dogs.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


It's all about perspective. While pondering which pup should go in each group, Allen said "Why do we have to split them up at all? Why don't we just build a duplex?"

So... there you go. SP Kennel Fire Litter will stay together!

Newly renovated 2-door, rustic, long interior bedroom, elevated SP K Duplex.

Friday, October 11, 2013

The Fire Pups hit a Crossroad

The litter if eleven have come to a crossroads in life. The litter turns three months old this weekend. How the time flies! But, they now have issues that many of our other SP Kennel litters have not had.

Ten Fire Pups sit at a crossroads in front of the Handler Cabin late in the evening. They were on their post dinner puppy walk and were headed home to sleep.

The biggest issue is: there are too many bodies for one dog house! That's right. It's becoming very close quarters. As they continue to grow, their dog house doesn't! Occasionally we can hear them in the middle of the night: "Hey get off me!" or "That's my side!"

People have asked "Why don't you just put two dog house in the pen and they can split up themselves?" We have tried. They all continue to pile in one house. They like each other!

So, the challenge in the next few days will be to split them up into two sleeping pens. We'd like to split them up into personality groups: excited, high strung and fast versus laid back and more calm. But, we are working on that!

During the late night puppy walk last night, we got one thing figured out: Coal would like to sleep in our bed. He continuously mentioned that he was okay with being split up with his bro's and sis's. He said that a spot alongside ChaCha, on the Lazy Boy chair in our bedroom, would be just fine.

Puppy number eleven, Coal, never came to the crossroads. He hung back with the mushers saying "Pleaseeeeee. Pleaseeeee. I'm sure Granny ChaCha won't mind!"


Monday, October 7, 2013

Northern New England Trade Fair and Seminar

Aliy and Allen had a great time at the Northern New England Trade Fair and Seminar this past weekend in New Hampshire. They did several talks and answered questions about their lifestyle, dog care and of course, sled dog racing. They camped out Saturday night with folks from around New England, as well as their dogs.

L-R: The crowd was fantastic; Allen and Aliy shows videos of SP Kennel.

Everyone throughly enjoyed the Sunday morning races. There were quite a few classes to choose from: one-dog, two-dog, three/four dog rig, five/six dog rig and a canicross. WHAT FUN!

L-R: A Siberian is ready to roll; an excited Pitbull Mix; Four-Dog Class from Boston area

L-R: The team waits their turn to race; "3 - 2 - 1 GO!" And their off!.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Felix and Pepe

Just before Mickey left Alaska, she and Doug took several training rides with the dogs. They wanted to get to know some of the younger dogs better, since the next time they will see them is at the Iditarod! So, here is a video clip of Aliy talking exclusively about the brothers: Felix and Pepe.

The boys were born August 17, 2011. They are from a litter of five (Izzy, Mismo and Neslon are the other three.) Quito is their Mom and Biscuit is their Dad. The Golf Litter (Driver, Iron, Woody, Sandy, Chipper and Wedgy) are the identical breeding, but one year younger.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

We welcome a new musher to the family!

Popa Allen holding his granddaughter; Khloe Grace Smith born October 1, 2013