Doug and I have been manning SP Kennel in Two Rivers AK, about 25 miles east of Fairbanks, for the past week. We are tasked with caring for the non racing dogs: 15 young adults, 16 puppies and 4 retired. We make sure they are fed, cleaned and loved a bit each day. Doug left yesterday for Nome, and several checkpoints on the Bering Sea, so the job is mine for a few days.
It is now 10 AM Sunday morning. The sky is overcast, the winds are calm, a light snow is falling and the thermometer reads -17 degrees F. That temp is not a surprise for you Alaskans reading this, but for our friends and neighbors in Florida, it is unimaginable. Since our bodies are not acclimated to Alaska winter, we dress in 4 to 5 layers and liberally use chemical hand/foot warmers when working outdoors. My cold tolerance is very limited
The dogs, on the other hand, are bred to thrive at these temps. They snuggle up in their straw lined boxes at night. During the day they play with each other, chase ravens, nap and eat ravenously. I am quite sure they miss their regular runs with Aliy and Allen.
Tomorrow, Monday, I expect the dropped dogs from Aliy’s and Allen’s teams to arrive here at SP Kennel. Kaz has been receiving dropped dogs from the Iditarod vets and caring for them in Anchorage. Tomorrow morning she will drive them north 175 miles from Anchorage: Ray will drive south 175 miles from Fairbanks. When they meet on the Parks Highway, somewhere near Cantwell, Ray will take the dogs and head back north again. The dogs should be in their own beds by evening.
Doug had the additional duty of repairing some older sleds in preparation for the annual SP Kennel Adventure Tour to the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR). My additional duty is to answer piles of fan mail from school children all over the US.
So that is a view of SP Kennel Base in Two Rivers AK. We are in constant contact with SP Kennel Anchorage (Kaz) and SP Kennel Nome (Bridget and Scotty). Our thoughts are always with the 2 SP Kennel teams on the Iditarod Trail.