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, October 22, 2016

Portrait Day 2016

Jeanne came to the kennel earlier this week and immersed herself in two straight days of dog photography. She has amazing skills with a camera (and with dogs.) Thank goodness!

Jeanne, Chevie and Rambler bond before snapshots; the "Set Up": Chris convinces Kodiak to pose while Tami and Jeanne set up.

Portrait Day at SP Kennel is a full on process that is both ridiculous and important at the same time. But the SP Kennel Crew pulled it off again. Everyone helped out tremendously: from Madi adjusting the brand new dog collars, Mykena tirelessly bringing dogs in and out and Ruth getting everyone to 'weigh in'. We got all the dogs looking sharp before they got in front of the lens. Tami recorded dog weights and made sure each dog was identified for their portrait sitting (that can be tricky... look at Barista and Daisy or Torch and Creamer!) At that point it was Chris' job to assist with canine modeling. Aliy did her best to 'make each dog smile'. If you have ever been part of a grade school picture day... multiply the chaos factor times 10. But, in the end, each dog did 'smile' in their own way.

Violet says "Let me in! It's my turn."; Madi comforts QT before her session; Amber gets a well deserved belly rub post photo shoot.

Amazingly, Jeanne was able to take fantastic portraits of everyone. She is now editing and we will put them on the website for all to see as soon as we can.

After the portraits were done, we had some fun with the Halloween theme. (We should probably apologize to Tig right off the bat for those photos. Sorry Tig.) You will see the results soon!

Then came the puppy portraits. Oh my... as our long time kennel followers know, we have a lot to live up to. The glamorous puppy group photos of the Secret Litter and the Fire Pups are stupendous. Since there were only three pups this year, we thought it would be easy. It wasn't. Stayed tuned. We promise to post all the new photos after they pass the photographer's editing and inspection.

And once again... Thank you so much Jeanne!

Friday, October 21, 2016

Driver Wins First Fan Club Draw!

Sincere thanks to everyone who has joined our Dog Fan Club. We are so excited that every dog has at least one fan and that you have all taken this program and our dogs to your hearts. We appreciate you all.

We made our first random draw today and congratulations to Jeanne Hammel who is a fan of Driver.

Driver is still the big, happy lug that he's always been. He is a sweetheart but his excitement will get the best of him when the harnesses come out. He is STRONG and driven - this will help the team when it comes to overall power. He won't let up… ever!

Last season was an important one for Driver and he comes into the new season with some important experience under his harness.

Jeanne wins an Iditarod 2016 poster plus an SP Kennel patch. Of course she will get a photo print portrait of Driver (just taken this past week!). We hope you enjoy your packet Jeanne!

Our next draw will be November 4th and everyone who has joined by then will be in the draw to win!

Click the button below for more information about how to join:

Click this button to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

PS there was quite flurry of activity over the first couple of weeks so if you joined and don't see your name please let us know at SPKDogLog@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

It's never easy...

We went out on an ATV this morning in order to make sure the trails were clear of fallen trees and brush. There has been a major wind storm in Interior Alaska for the last 24 hours, so we thought we would be 'responsible' and check out the trails prior to hooking up 14 dogs. But things don't always turn out like you think they should…

The ATV broke down with THREE flat tires. While retrieving the ATV -- which sat a mile down the trail from the kennel -- the trailer got ONE flat tire. At least the truck made it back with four inflated tires!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Waylon Update

Waylon is definitely special. Always has been.

He is a crazy faced, brilliant blue-eyed, opinionated, loud, talented fellah. But, what often strikes people is the fact that he has literally ZERO husky fur, enormous rabbit ears and long thin legs. And… he weighs in at just over a sack of dog food = 40 pounds.

I remember the Iditarod Insider crew showing up at a pre Race filming session and long time sled dog enthusiasts and commentators, Bruce Lee and Joe Runyan, looked at Waylon and actually giggled while asking: "This is your Lead Dog?"

But, Waylon absolutely loves being who he is. And he is extremely talented at it. He wouldn't change his life passion for anything. Waylon's sled dog energy and enthusiasm make me want to be a musher. He makes me smile, dig deeper and try harder.

Waylon loses his marbles at the Iditarod 2015 Start while Scout plays it cool.

An excerpt from my 2016 Trail Notes: "Waylon is a firecracker. He was the main leader for the first half of the race because he loves being in charge. But after the halfway point, he wasn’t ‘busting a gut’ to run. Then, I believe, he was somewhat injured by the snowmachine attack - although I could never find anything specific. In the end, Waylon knew that he could do anything I would ask, so he powered through and made it to Nome."

Waylon ended his 2016 racing season with a superb 3rd place Iditarod finish. At first, he seemed to recover from any trauma that might have occurred and during the Springtime he was the happy-go-lucky guy that we all know. But at mid summer, Waylon began limping on his front right foot. We did an X-ray of his paw and Dr Rose seemed to think the issue was either a serious bone infection in his small toe or… cancer.

We moved him out of the yard and into the dog room (or the "big" house) for a month while on several strong antibiotics and anti inflammation drugs. When we went for a follow up exam and took another series of X-rays, they showed zero changes. There were still signs of bone degradation and no improvement. He was asleep during the X-rays, in order to manipulate his toe position. So Dr Rose prodded his toe with a needle to see if there was fluid in the enlarged digit. When she did this the toe bone broke!! We were very surprised. She had to then immediately amputate the toe -- we couldn't leave him with a broken toe that would never heal -- and there were really no other acceptable alternatives. So, Waylon came home 3-toed.

He lived indoors and had daily bandage cleanings and even had to wear the "cone of shame" for a few very LONG days. But, it has healed up nicely. The biggie was whether the broken bone was degraded due to cancer -- which is honestly what we all assumed. The toe was sent to a Lab and after a very long week the results came back cancer free! Yippee. The results said that the toe was in that condition probably due to some sort of injury and then arthritis. When exactly that injury happened, we do not know.

So… long story short Waylon and I are in exactly the same boat this coming season. I had arthritic toe surgery and over 8 weeks recovery time. Waylon had toe surgery and after 6 weeks recovery he is already looking good. Both of us are now training for the coming season.

"The Rehab Room"; Waylon PRE surgery X-ray; Aliy POST surgery X-ray.

Waylon now must wear a dog bootie all the time and his training regime is slower -- but if any dog can do it: Waylon can.

Waylon -all dressed up- leads the team into Unalakleet in Iditarod 2014.
Photo by Sebastian Schnuelle.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Aliy Goes to School!

Aliy went to the Two Rivers K - 8 School to help celebrate Nation School Lunch Week. Many students in the Two Rivers area eat both breakfast and lunch at the school. Actually, public schools across the United Staes feed over 31 million students every day. The kids gets food choices and sometimes they ask for a little advice on their choices.

Aliy and Allen are very motivated to maintain healthy lifestyles - which includes eating nutritionally balanced meals and remaining physically active. So, Aliy went to school to talk a little about her favorite snacks and what it takes to stay strong while mushing for 9 to 11 days.

The kid audience was very fun and interactive. Many of them see Aliy and Allen at Pleasant Valley Store during the Valley Funale picnic and Sled Dog Races and well as around town. But, it is always fun to visit with neighbors and just simply say "Hi!" Aliy decided that since this was a special audience she would share a story that she doesn't often talk about: arm wrestling. The kids thought that was the best story that they had ever heard.
"What do I have to eat to become THAT strong?!?!"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Puppy Photos

The puppies are nearly 3 months old. Mama Quito still enjoys playing with them and the threesome definitely enjoy romping in the woods and fields near the kennel.

Prata motors down the trail.

Bronze takes a break in the bushes.

Gold relaxes after tromping down the trail.

Saturday, October 8, 2016

We'd Love You to Join the Dog Fan Club!

The Dog Fan Club has been a much enjoyed recent feature of the SP Kennel Dog Log. Thanks to all who have shown your support to your favorite dog or dogs over the last three seasons.

We've updated the Fan Club cards with casual photos of the dogs and cleared the rosters ready for our new season.

Every two weeks during the season we will randomly draw a winner. If that's you, you'll receive a beautiful "glam shot" of your winning dog along with some kennel goodies. Last year the prizes included merchandise from the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Assoc, CB300, Yukon Quest and Iditarod, SP Kennel swag, and sponsors products.

And, your winning dog gets to enjoy some extra treats from the "Fan Club Biscuit Barrel". (Just quietly, often the whole yard gets to join in on the treats.)

The first draw will be October 21st!

Click the button below for more information and instructions on how to join:

Click this button to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Meet & Greet in Anchorage

Aliy, Allen and Quito will be at the Verizon Store Dimond Mall Grand Opening tomorrow, Friday October 7th from 4PM until 8PM. Come see us!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Fall Training Photos

Sunrise and heading home from a morning run.

Pausing in the creek with Jefe and McCaw in wheel.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Copper Basin 300

SP Kennel is fielding three teams in the 2017 Copper Basin 300! Allen will run the Black Team, Aliy the Red Team and Chris will run a Red & Black Team of youngsters in his first 300 mile race.

As with last year, the CB300 committee allowed the top 10 finishers in the 2016 race the opportunity to sign-up before they opened registration to all other mushers. This was because for the last couple of years the race filled up almost immediately and they wanted to be sure their defending champs and place-getters secured an entry and didn't have to sit on a waitlist hoping to get in.

Then it was a nervous wait for Chris to submit his entry once the race was opened to everyone else. We were really pleased to see his name amongst the 50 mushers that have entered!

SPK enjoys the CB300 and have enjoyed much success in this race. Allen and the SPK Black Team have won this race six times and finished in 3rd position last year behind Matt Hall and Ryne Olson. Aliy and the Red Team have finished in the top 10 on multiple occasions, including their best finish in 4th place last year. It is billed as "the toughest 300 miles in Alaska" and we would definitely agree. We've experienced extremes in terrain, in weather and in competition and it is a great test for musher, dogs and handler teams!

Last year's top four: Matt Hall, Ryne Olson, Aliy and Allen (Photo credit: Mary-Beth Schreck who was volunteering for the race and is Nomex's sponsor

So, look out for the all three SPK teams when the race starts on January 14th in Glennallen! We're excited!!