Saturday, May 24, 2014

What's Happening at the Kennel?

The yard is now green and the trees have new leaves. The outlook has more color than the monochromatic winter scenes. We're enjoying 60+ temperatures and the dogs alternately bask in the sunshine or snooze in the shade.

Rambler enjoys the shade, Teddy at rest

Of course, there is much to be done, as always. Now the snow has melted there are layers and layers of straw on the ground that needs raking up. Harnesses, lines, dog jackets and booties need sorting and packing away ready for next season - we'll look out anything that needs repairs and get that squared away before training starts again in just four short months. We're doing a literal "spring clean" of everything.

We have planted some flowers and vegetables to make the most of the long hours of sunshine over the next few months.

You may have noticed the website is in summer slow-down mode also. Kennel Mom (Mickey) will be up in Alaska sometime in July and has some fun plans for a series of posts to keep you up to date with what's happening. We've closed the team membership and fan clubs and are ordering and finalizing the merchandise for team memberships next season.

Summer time is also puppy time but you'll just have to wait and see on that one!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

More Yard Pics

Sandy (below left) and Lydia (below right) raced in the Two Rivers Solstice 50 and Meghan's Copper Basin team as yearlings - Sandy even made the short-list for Allen's Iditarod team - so we have high hopes for these two youngsters as they head into their "adult racer" season.

Pepe (below left) had a pretty quiet racing season, after finishing the Two Rivers Solstice 100 with Meghan he got behind in miles compared to his Latino siblings and didn't make any more race teams. He's a very talented young dog so we hope to see a big year from him next season. I.V. (below right) was on the verge of making the Quest and Allen's Iditarod teams but missed out due to a very minor injury but she's a star so we'll see a lot of her next season.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Day for Mothers

Regardless of what species your kids are: Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there! In honor of the day I hope you enjoy these pics of some of the Moms in our yard.

Quito and Olivia

Chica and Nutmeg

The Ultimate Mom (and Grandma): ChaCha

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy the Sled Dog in Arkansas??

Over the past few years, many fans have asked me "Where's Happy?"

Of course, all of of you long-time SP Kennel fans remember the Happy Story. To you newcomers: Happy was a dog that I found years ago in an Alaskan village when she was just a puppy. She wasn't the most talented sled dog (come to think of it, we weren't convinced that she was a sled dog in the beginning!) But, through sheer determination and an amazing heart that little dog finished the Iditarod with Allen in the year 2009. One of her biggest fans was SP Kennel's Macgellan. He was so pleased with that little dog that at the Iditarod start he promised everyone that if Happy made it to the finish line he would kiss her sweet little tush. Well, guess what? He did!

L-R: The Traveling Duo: Macgellan and Happy; Happy's 2012 SP Kennel Team Photo

Happy the Sled Dog retired from SP Kennel a year and a half ago and went to live with Macgellan. This traveling duo live in a luxurious motorhome and travel throughout North America. Allen and Aliy were visiting family in northeast Arkansas at the same time Macgellan and Happy were camped 50 miles down the road. So yesterday, there was an emotional reunion just off of Interstate 55 near Memphis.

SP Kennel is located in Two Rivers, Alaska but the lifelong connection that exists between SP K dogs and mushers makes us a Global Family.

So good to see you two!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

More From the Yard

Here's a few more pictures of some of the dogs you haven't seen much of this season. Kodiak, Dutch, Iron and Driver all raced in the Two Rivers Solstice 50 in December and all four of them were in the running to make Meghan's Copper Basin team. We're excited about their prospects next season!

L-R: Driver in a rare serious moment; Dutch-man looking relaxed

Iron-man is a little goofy; Kodiak looks so handsome

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Iditarod 2014: "Aliy Cam" A Tour of my Dog Sled

As I was traveling down the trail between Nikolai and McGrath during Iditarod this year I remember thinking "I bet folks would like to see what the view looks like from the back of my sled." Well… here you go.

I talk a little about my handlebar headlight, snow hooks, ax, surf board leash, ski poles and drinking thermos with a straw. Then I show parts of my sled: my brake and drag matt. You can see the foot pads that I stand on for miles and miles. There are two pockets on the top of the sled bag. The one closest to me holds: spare gloves, human snacks, headlight and sunglasses. The one at the base holds dog snacks.

As an after thought, I mention the bright orange bootie that holds my GPS tracker: an essential piece of equipment because race fans could actually see where I was throughout the race. Also, as it turned out, the SPOT Tracker was a critical piece of equipment for some mushers who had broken bones, sleds or attitudes and needed to call for help while still on the trail. I never did open my orange bootie and see my SPOT Tracker, but I assume it was the same as every other SPOT Tracker on the Iditarod and had two separate button options to call for assistance. One says "SOS" and one says "Help!" There was one other Tracker on my sled but it had no assistance buttons and was only a GPS locator. This was an entirely new system of tracking Iditarod Mushers this year. The GPS tracker units of prior races never had any assistance buttons.
It is a new age.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Dog Yard Pics

For no other reason other than it was a lovely day and I had my camera out, I thought you might like to see some snaps of a few of the dogs you didn't get to see much of this season.

L-R: Chipper relaxing in the shade; Wedgy has her mother's ears

L-R: Woody peeks out from his place in the woods; Junior looking super-model-gorgeous like her Mama

Watch this space for more snaps...