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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thank you Chenega!

Chenega Native Corporation has sold the Clarion Suites in Downtown Anchorage. As many people know, Clarion Suites has been SP Kennel's home away from home for many years. We are greatly appreciative to Chenega for the many years that our dogs, mushers, handlers, family and fans all stayed at Clarion Suites. We were treated like royalty.

Aliy stands underneath the "Aliy Hotel Banner"; SP Kennel dog truck sits in its reserved parking space in front of Clarion Suites

We have met so many great people through our relationship with Chenega that we have come out far ahead. Our business relationships have turned into life-long personal friendships.

Linda Steiner ~ Director or Sales and Marketing; Barbara Swenson ~ General Manager

Aliy and one of her best buddies; Allen, Aliy and Ranger at a hotel sponsored event

Clarion Suites team with Scruggs before the start of the 2013 Iditarod

Charlotte, Aliy and Dingle at a downtown event; Aliy carried a laminated photo of the Clarion Suites team in her Iditarod sled every year

Thank you Chenega! And thank you to the dedicated staff and personnel of the Clarion Suites Downtown Anchorage.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Five Pups at 4 1/2 Weeks Old

Here is a video of the Chica x Clyde puppies:

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

It's a week of Birthdays!

This week we celebrate quite a few birthdays here at SP Kennel.

The Car Litter turned 7 years old on the 10th of August. We took the siblings; Beemer, Olivia, Rambler, Scout and Viper; for a celebratory walk on their birthday morning. Honda is in Oregon, Hummer is in Fairbanks, Malibu is in Anchorage and Ranger is just down the road.

Beemer shares a secret with Allen at the Iditarod Start 2014; The Car Litter snuggles (plus Tug and Cutter)

The Honky-tonk Litter won't be outdone because they celebrate NUMBER SIX on the 15th of the month. Boondocks, Lester, Scruggs, Willie and Waylon (Hank is in Texas and Bubba went to Canada years ago.)

Boondocks and Aliy pre Iditarod 2014; The Honkey-tonks first race ever. On the Truck (L-R) Hank, Boondocks, Scruggs, Bubba, Hummer (one year older), Waylon (even wearing a jacket then!), Lester (you can see his buttocks)

At the end of the week, August 17th, the Latino Litter hits the "Big One" - 3 years old! They are no longer youngsters. All five siblings are here at the kennel: Felix, Izzy, Mismo, Nelson and Pepe. They have been loud and obnoxious about their upcoming celebration all week long. (Okay… they just might be loud and obnoxious all the time.)

Izzy thinks that since she's half the size of Mismo, she should get twice the birthday snacks as he gets. Nelson has quipped "You bought me the best present, right? Me. I deserve the best present. You know that, right?" Pepe just keeps jumping in the air - all four feet at a time! Felix can't stop insisting about the flavor of the cake frosting "It's gotta be salmon, Red salmon! Not Pink. Not silver. Red salmon!" He seems to be getting a little pushy. Mismo just looks from one sibling to another… "Izzy, you're full of it! Yup, Felix… you're right Red is best! Wait a minute Nelson how was your Iditarod this year… that's right you didn't go! Gosh Pepe… you can really catch some air!"

Mismo and Felix leave the Iditarod starting line 2014; They were quite a handful!

Quiet, reserved and usually very PC, Tug Boat, shares her birthday with the Latinos, although she turns 7 years old. She is always such a sweetheart and a joy to be around, we were surprised when she said "Please don't put me in the Play Pen with those Loco kids!" So, Tug will get her own birthday biscuit.

Happy Birthday to them all!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

4 Weeks Old Today

A peaceful few seconds between Rodney and Scooby; Not so peaceful!

Puppies are still nursing (Ernie, Ginger, Scooby, Rodney, Five); Puppies are eating solid food as well

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Aliy Radio Interview

Aliy was asked to stop by a Fairbanks radio station to do a few commercials for a local business: Cold Spot ~ For Healthy Pets. Cold Spot helps coordinate the transportation of SP's Eagle Pack dog food shipment from the manufacturing plant in Indiana all the way up to Fairbanks, Alaska. Which is no small feat!

In addition, Aliy and Allen find themselves in Cold Spot almost weekly to buy things like: dog collars, medications, airline crates, dog beds, cedar shavings, sled parts, snaps, runner plastic… the list is really endless!

While Aliy was at the radio station, talk show host, Charile O'Toole, asked if she would do a brief on-air interview. Of course, never turning down a opportunity to talk about her passion, Aliy said "Sure!" So, if you have an extra 20 minutes, here is Charlie O'Toole's interview with Aliy:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Sled dog, deck dog

Howdy! Meghan here. Thought I’d take a minute to say hello and give everyone an update on our favorite blonde barker, Ranger.

After many seasons as an SP Kennel superstar, Ranger (“Ranger Danger”) is enjoying the easy life of being a “deck dog” with me at my cabin in Two Rivers this summer. Ranger and I ran several races together over the past two winters, and have spent countless hours together on training runs and in the dog yard. His inspirational leadership, big brown eyes and hilarious vocal tendencies have earned him a solid place in my heart. How fitting that I now get to spend every day with him!

Danger joins the other members of my little team, two female sled dogs, Tina Turner and Charlet. The girls and I love having Danger’s enthusiastic energy around. And I think he, in turn, loves his role as the man of the house. He has some big responsibilities, too: remembering where all the bones in the yard are hidden, “pruning” the violas on the deck (maybe it’s just a language barrier… I call it “eating,” he insists it’s merely pruning), lounging in my lap to relax me after a long day of work, and singing. Singing CONSTANTLY. Ranger sings for his dinner when I get home, he sings all evening for entertainment, he sings me to sleep from his bed downstairs, he sings to wake me up. Even when this boy isn’t singing, he’s often just on the cusp, making little, throaty pre-singing whines. I encourage him to go ahead and let it out, at which point he generally erupts into song again.

I couldn’t be more delighted to welcome Ranger into my life. Fortunately, we are living only a mile or so from the kennel, so we both get lots of time with Aliy, Allen, and all of our SP buddies. Ranger and I plan on being involved with Team SP as much as possible this winter and, of course, supporting the kennel in any way that we can.

Meghan and Danger in Willow for Iditarod 2014

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Where are they now?

A few SP Kennel dogs have retired from racing with us. When we look for homes for our dogs they have to be "forever" homes and they have to promise to spoil our dogs rotten. I think Jeanne in Oregon has kept up her end of the bargain. But just check out these recent photos of Boris and Honda and see what you think.

Boris runs thru the irrigated farm field; Posing for the camera

Honda LOVES to roll in Horse manure.

Honda running to the house after his horse manure excursion; Jumping thru the juniper.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Yukon Quest 2015 - Sign Up Day

Reigning Champion, Allen Moore, was first in line at the Fairbanks Yukon Quest Headquarters to submit his registration forms for the 2015 Yukon Quest. Saturday, August 2, was the first day of sign ups and a party-like atmosphere ruled as both veteran and rookie mushers committed to the grueling 1000-mile race. The Yukon Quest begins in Whitehorse, Canada on February 7, 2015 and ends 8 to 14 days later on the Chena River in Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska.

A stream of mushers followed Allen and by mid afternoon 20 teams were registered. (A similar event was staged simultaneously in Whitehorse.)
Allen submits his YQ registration. He is first to sign up for the 2015 race.
Fairbanks Quest Headquarters was jammed with competitors, Board Members, volunteers, die-hard fans, admiring tourists and a handful of racing dogs. Allen and Viper were celebrities - mingling, answering questions, being photographed and reminiscing about past races. And the rain let up around noon to allow all to enjoy the fantastic BBQ lunch.
The Two Rivers contingent enjoys sign up day. L to R- Becky Alexander, Pleasant Valley Store owner and long time SP sponsor, Allen and  Ryne Olson.

Allen and Viper greet Donna, YQ volunteer vet tech. Photo thanks to SP fan, Kaydee.
We are pretty excited to acknowledge that Ryne Olson, former SP Kennel handler, owner of Ryno Kennel, neighbor and friend, also signed up for the Quest. 2015 will be her rookie run.

And Aliy's Yukon Quest 300 registration was also submitted, while she was entertaining tourists on the Princess Cruises' Denali Express Train.

So, if it seems to you that training and racing season is just around the corner, you are right! SP Kennel begins serious training next month.

Click here for the Yukon Quest website and more information about the 2015 race. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chica x Clyde Puppy Update

Oh my, where do I start?

We are open and honest about our kennel practices, our dogs, our successes and our failures here at SP Kennel. This past week has been one of my most challenging ~ emotionally - in a long while. My goal has always been to try and do the best for each and every dog. To try and "make everything right". The fact is, last week, I could not "make everything right".

I'll start with:
Thank goodness we have five healthy 16 day old puppies. They are active, nursing aggressively and starting to get into trouble. Chica and the pups are living in our house, in an area especially built for them, where we can watch them 24 hours a day. The past week of intense care and surveillance has only been possible by the great family and friends that we have here at SP Kennel. I'm sorry to say that we wore out the whole neighborhood - whether it was racing off to the Vet office, sleeping on the couch for pup checks or medicating the litter consistently. I also need to thank Crystal, a Vet Tech at North Pole Vet Hospital, for teaching me how to tube feed puppies.

When the pups were 6 days old, one puppy became lethargic. I know that nature can be a puzzle to us mere morals. We lost that pup soon after we noticed its signs of sickness.

I don't need to tell you but, the standards of care of newborns here is of the highest calibre. Chica is current on all vaccinations and is as healthy as a dog can be. She is always fed the best dog food and given a constant fresh supply of water. She has not been sick in years, has plenty of milk and has tended to her pups constantly. Our puppy pen is a raised wooden platform that is pressure washed and clean. The whelping box and nursing house is full of fresh cedar chips and the bedding is changed often. We even had human visitors at the kennel during the pups first week, but I allowed no one in the pen or to touch the newborns. There were no "strange" dogs at the kennel and Chica does not wander. I thought the loss of this one pup was a random and sad occurrence.

On the evening of Day 7 another pup became ill. All remaining puppies were nursing and healthy. Was this random again? This illness became a mystery. I warmed the pup and syringe fed him all night. He died just before our visit to North Pole Vet Hospital.

At the time of the appointment, the entire litter had stopped nursing and had sickly diarrhea. A few pups were chilled. After a through Doctor's examination, there still was no definitive cause. The pups were put on antibiotics with the possibility that they had a gastrointestinal bacterial infection.

I took the seven pups home and tube fed them milk replacement every 3 hours. I also gave them sub cutaneous fluids every 3 hours for dehydration. It was obvious that their bellies were sore and a few pups could not keep the nourishment down. Despite my best efforts, two more pups died during the following 36 hours. I turned one of the bodies in to the Hospital to see if any tissue samples could be used to determine the illness. A Laboratory in the Lower 48 received the tissues on Day 10.

Today is Day 15 and the positive thing is we have 5 nursing and feisty puppies. I know them intimately. They have cried in my lap and squealed at the Vet office. They have been poked and prodded and even tube fed. They are an incredible group of survivalists and I hope with all of my heart that we have gotten over the worse of this.

The biggest pup is Rodney - I have no idea where that name came from but I started calling him that in the wee hours of the morning and it stuck. Scooby was named on Day 1 by my nephew Sam. Ginger is the only girl and she was always referred to as the "ginger colored pup". So ginger has become Ginger. Ernest Shakelton was part of one of the most amazing survival stories ever, so Ernie is the third boy. The fifth pup was called #5 for his whole life thus far. He was one of the sickest pups and I am surprised that he has pulled through. I still call him "Five" and my Mom calls him "Cinco" (five in Spanish.) Allen thinks we should call him "High Five." So, this last little guy might have a few names, but he probably deserves them all!

We received the results from the Laboratory yesterday. The puppies had an intestinal syndrome brought on by Clostridium perfringens bacterium. Clostridium is a normally occurring bacteria in a dog's gut. However, when this bacteria reproduces, it generates a toxin. Our puppy tested positive for the alpha toxin. This alpha toxin causes severe inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, hemorrhage and death. This is not a common occurrence in dogs.

There is still some question as to what caused this normally tranquil bacteria to reproduce so rapidly and create killer toxins in our pups? We have been told that Clostridium thrives in rotting vegetation and uncooked or undercooked meats. Chica has been on a strict dry kibble diet with no meat additives. Her last meat or fish snack was pre-pregnancy in April. There was no rotting vegetation in the puppy pen. Although it is hard, I must not speculate as to source of infection. We would need many more diagnostics and research to fully understand why this occurred.

What we know is that the bacteria is under control by antibiotic medication. There should be no more alpha toxins produced and the puppies' guts should heal. We have five healthy puppies, nursing aggressively, squealing and playing.

Chica and the babies at Day 14 take a nap in the "nest"; Rodney cuddles on the quilt with me after a medication dosage.

I'm sure I don't need to tell folks that I am still coming to grips with the occurrences during the last week. It makes me very sad. As I said at the beginning, I have a hard time accepting that I could not "make everything right" for these babies. Thankfully, I have many friends in the veterinary field and their knowledge and comments seem to help me. But, I'm sure, the thing that will help me the most will be watching Rodney, Scooby, Ginger, Ernie and Five grow up to be happy and healthy SP Kennel dogs!