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.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Meat Saw Day

As you know, we feed all our dogs on Eagle Pack Dog Food from puppyhood to retirement. They thrive on this food and we are extremely happy to be in partnership with Team Eagle Pack!

To supplement the kibble we use various flavours of meat, either soaked as an extra flavouring with their meals or as calorie rich snacks during training runs and races (right, Clyde enjoying his snack at Carmacks checkpoint). We feed meats such as lamb, beef, salmon, chicken and BLT (NOT bacon, lettuce and tomato but the much more appetising beef, liver and tripe!!).

All of this meat needs cutting into snack-sized bites so today was our first of many "meat saw days" this season where we cut and bagged a few hundred pounds of meat to be used over the next couple of months.

During our research for Throwback Thursdays we came across a couple of videos which will show you a little about what happens on "meat saw day". Here is a link to a post called "Beef Flavoured Snickers" from Macgellan back in 2009.

Below is a video Ryne put together back in 2010.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Dog Sponsor Packets

It's that time of year again where we send out our individual Dog Sponsor packets.

This year it was a pan-Pacific exercise with Moira doing the computer-based work in New Zealand such as making the trading cards, glam shots and address labels for Aliy to print. Aliy then wrote individual letters to each sponsor then roped in Allen and Spencer to help physically put the packets of SP Kennel gear and other goodies together ready for posting.

Jeanne Schnackenberg's fantastic portraits turned into "glam shots"

As mentioned in our last Dog Fan Club post, Becky and the team at Pleasant Valley Store and Trailside Mail then helped Aliy with sorting and posting the packets all over the US as well as the UK and NZ. Phew!

Our dog sponsor programme is by far our most popular and in-demand programme. We are in the very fortunate position of having every racing dog, yearling and puppy individually sponsored and we have a wait-list for future sponsors.

We are often asked why we don't have more than one sponsor for each dog but we've always had a policy of "one dog, one sponsor" as we have had overwhelming feedback that it is important to our sponsors. People develop a strong bond with "their dog" and we want to honour that. Some of our sponsors have been with their dog for years, first sponsoring them as a puppy and following their racing career. Some have had their dog retire and have gone on to sponsor a new generation. Our sponsors become part of the extended SPK family!

THANK YOU to every single one of our fantastic dog sponsors! Check out our Dogs and Puppies pages for sponsor information.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WBW: Tatfish

It's been a while since we've had a Windback Wednesday / Throwback Thursday so this one is for everyone who enjoys a laugh! I don't know how many times I have watched this video and it makes me laugh out loud every time! Macgellen was testing a new camera back in December 2008 and caught some video of the teams leaving the yard. He also caught something else on tape…


While I've been pleasantly surprised, frankly, at how well my photo gear has held up under the demanding conditions here in the Interior Alaskan winter, I have to admit that it has been a bit of a struggle from time to time.

So, while I was in Fairbanks the other day I shopped for a camera that is more "purpose built" for the cold, snow, etc., than my existing gear. I found one by Olympus called the "Stylus 1030 SW" -- the "SW" stands for "Shock and Water Proof" -- and it is supposed to operate in temperatures down to -10 degrees. Hoping for the best, I bought it and determined to put it to the test right away.

As Aliy and Allen were getting ready to head out on a training run yesterday, I noticed a small rock in the Kennel's exit chute. With the claim of "shock and water proof" in mind, I propped my new camera down on the snow in front of it, hoping to get some footage from an unusual perspective. Actually, I was still just hoping for the best.

By now you know that the dogs are pretty excited to get going just before a run, some of them to the extent that we have to hook them up at the very last second or they will make a tangled mess out of the team. This is particularly true for Tatfish. For reasons that you will see, this little video is dedicated to Tatfish and my new camera, both of whom deserve better than they get!

Special thanks to Jonathan Coulton -- who somehow always has just the song I need! -- for the use of "Why Don't You Take Care Of Me?"


~ Macgellan

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Early Season Howler Available Now!

The season opening Howler is here! We hope you enjoy the first edition of the 2014-15 season.

In this issue we focus on early season training and discuss the progress of the yearling class.

We take a look at what's going on at the kennel during November and introduce a brand new kennel hotel sponsor!

Handsome two year olds Woody and Kodiak are in the spotlight.

Click on the image (right) to take you to the online version.

Yukon Quest Fundraiser

The annual Yukon Quest fundraiser was held Saturday evening in Fairbanks.

Several of the Mushers who will be racing in the 2015 competition volunteered to serve the crowd while wearing tuxedos. Dog mushers are not generally known to dress up in anything but big cold weather parkas, beaver mitts and wind gear, so seeing them in 'black ties with tails' was certainly a sight!

There was an auction, beer and wine tasting and amazing appetizers created by the University of Alaska/CTC Culinary Arts School.

It was a fun filled evening!

L-R: Mushers were dressed in their 'finest'; Allen serves hors d'oeuvres to Ms. North Pole and good friend, Dave Williams.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Fan Club Draw #3 - Waylon

Congratulations to Debbi Robinson from North Carolina who has won this week's Dog Fan Club draw! Debbi is a fan of WAYLON who got some extra biscuits and treats today.

Debbi wins a T-shirt from Pleasant Valley Store, one of our long time sponsors. Thank you to everyone who has joined the fan club, we appreciate your support.

This week we've had an assembly line in force putting all the dog sponsor packets together. Of course, as our dog sponsors are spread all over the USA as well as in the UK and New Zealand, all those packets need to be posted! That's where our great friends at Trailside Mail and the Pleasant Valley Store come in. Thank you to the whole team at the Store who help us with not only the dog sponsor packets, but also Red and Black Team membership packets and the hundreds of letters from students during and after the Iditarod.

The next Dog Fan Club winner will be announced on November 28th and everyone who hasn't already won and all new members will be in the draw to win.

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Play Every Day

The Alaska Play Every Day campaign shared its new school lesson plan on sugary drinks during a health seminar at Two Rivers Elementary School on Monday. It included a demonstration of sugar content in popular sugary drinks, along with a discussion of how sugary drinks affect a child’s health. This is a lesson plan that was also distributed to the approximately 170 Alaska schools that participate in the Healthy Futures Physical Activity Challenge.

Aliy brought Beemer as well as SP K retiree, Stormy, to the seminar. She talked about choosing water as the healthiest drink for her and her dogs. The seminar ended with a "mushing wardrobe" relay. The kids had to put on a fur mushing hat, a pair of goggles and beaver mitts then run through orange cones to the finish line. There they had to drink a glass of water then 'high five' their team mate before he or she could run the course. Both teams -- first and second place -- got awards. The awards were dog biscuits that were given to Beemer and Stormy.

Ann talks about sugar in soda and sports drinks. Aliy shows the kids her "secret" water thermos.

Play Every Day started three years ago to raise awareness about the health concerns of childhood obesity and to inspire Alaska children and their families to be physically active and choose healthy foods and drinks. About one out of three Alaska children is overweight or obese.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Comfort Inn Ship Creek

We are very pleased to announce that Comfort Inn Ship Creek in Downtown Anchorage is our new 'home in Anchorage'. This dog friendly (and people friendly) hotel will be SP Kennel's home during the Iditarod 2015. The location is absolutely perfect for the Iditarod dogs and mushers.

Aliy, Allen and Beemer stayed at the hotel several weeks ago and were absolutely delighted by the hotel staff's generosity and hospitality. Beemer enjoyed strolling the creek side trail just behind the hotel and 'claimed' many of the bushes surrounding the property. He is thrilled to bring his team mates back in March.

Beemer in front of his new home -- the Comfort Inn Ship Creek in Downtown Anchorage.

In addition to being SP Kennel's hotel sponsor, the Comfort Inn has offered a "Friends and Family of SP Kennel" rate. If you need a place to stay in Anchorage during Iditarod or any other time of the year, choose the Comfort Inn Ship Creek. Click on their logo below to go to their website and book a room. We will see you there!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Another Stunning View!

Another day, another stunning view captured by Spencer.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Grooming Dog Trails

There are many trails in and around Two Rivers. From October until May they are winter trails and are predominately used by dog mushers. The occasional snow machine enthusiast will venture out on the trail system but more often than not there are mostly dog teams. One of the nicest trails was 'closed' most of last winter due to severe overgrowth and snowfall - the willows and tree limbs made it impassable.

So, quite a few of the neighborhood mushers gathered together a couple of weekends ago and cleaned up about three miles of trail. We didn't get photos of the whole crew but we did capture a few hard workers:

Spencer 'gets crazy' with a chainsaw; Wes wrestles with a spruce tree; Wendy triumphs over willow bushes. All is a day's work!

Apparently someone thought it was a wise idea to drive a compact car on the dog trail this past summer. Matt Hall was able to jack it up and move it off the trail but dog teams will get used to mushing "on by" this strange trail hazard.

Tig surveys the rouge car from a distance; Jezzie was tail boss but let Ryne and Derek use the chainsaw.

The whole crew put in a lot of work - sorry no photos of Ryne, Derek, Chase, Riley, Aliy or Allen!