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.
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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

YQ: Dawson City Team Update

We're a little over 12 hours into the 36 hour layover the team is looking great. We have the dogs on an eating, resting, stretching out and massage schedule which, right at this moment has them fast asleep at their camp. Last night after the team got in Meghan, Aliy and Dr Mike Davis (a good friend of SP Kennel) spent a couple of hours with them giving them their warm kibble meal and some extra meat snacks then settling them into their jackets and fleece blankets. We set up some kennels to give the dogs a couple of options - you will see when we take you on a tour of the camp that some choose to curl up in the kennel and others prefer to stretch out a little on a straw bed. Each to his or her own.

Our challenge currently is the temperature. It's around 30F below which means the dogs are not able to fully stretch themselves out to sleep (they curl up more in the cold, just like we do and therefore don't fully relax all the muscles while sleeping). We're trying to combat that with extra straw and blankets and fortunately the temperature is forecast to warm a little so they'll get the chance to ease any tired muscles.

Meghan stayed at the campsite overnight to keep watch over them, she was in the Arctic Oven tent in her big down sleeping bag listening for any commotion and getting up every now and again to check everyone still had their blankets on and were comfortable. She said the only thing she heard all night was one dog get up to reposition themselves. I had said this before but this team really knows how to make the most of their rest time!

Aliy and Dr Mike went back over to camp early this morning taking a caramel latte for Meghan with them. They fed and massaged the team and also completed the mandatory veterinarian check. At Dawson the vets do a comprehensive check on every dog and note any recommendations or concerns in the "vet book" which travels with Allen down the trail. We're very happy to report there were no major concerns with the team, just a few sore muscles which, considering what they have all just done, is fantastic news.

Dr Mike watches on as Schmoe is checked out; Dr Mike and Biscuit

Meghan watches on as Mac gets his vet check

Aliy is delighted and excited - she said that the team looks super-good and in her opinion it is the best looking team Allen has ever brought into Dawson. The one thing she noticed is that they are well hydrated which shows what great care Allen took of the team in the first 500 miles. The meal Allen prepared them when they stopped at Forty Mile was really important to them.

We're giving the dogs some space now to rest and we will all go back over to camp in a few hours for the next round of stretch-out, massage and meal.

As for Allen; Ray sent him to bed around 2.30am and he had a good long sleep and woke up to a steak-and-eggs-with-omelette-on-the-side breakfast. Ray has been checked through Allen's sled and has dried all his clothing and gear and has the sled ready to continue down the trail. We just all caught up for a quick chat and some trail stories and now we will all take a couple of hours rest before Allen attends the Mushers Meeting. At this meeting the mushers will receive a trail update for the trail onward from here and other important information from the Race Marshall and officials.


stormy said...

Awesome job!The teamwork you all exibit is so wonderful. SP Kennels mushers,dogs and team members,Rock On!!

Anonymous said...

This is getting exciting! I noticed the dog tent is much smaller this year. Most likely this is because it is much colder and more effort is going into keeping heat in.


Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this report - sweet dreams to all the 4-legged team members!!!

Zshawn said...

Thank you so much for these updates, and looks into how the YQ is run. I only started following it when I started reading this blog. I have truly enjoyed getting a year round look into an amazing lifestyle of two such talented mushers.

Libby the Lab said...

Hi Dr Mike from all you Iditabuds!

Lisa B said...

Sweet looking camp - as always. I still laugh at Meghan's comment on last year's camp video about how the arctic oven tent was like "sleeping in the womb".

Hope the trail report at the meeting is a positive one.

Nessmuk said...

Wow...didn't realize it was so cold there! Glad to hear it is suppose to warm slightly! Super excited to hear all the dogs passed their Vet checks with flying colors! Thank you Allen for such great dog care!! BTW...the 2013 Iditarod Documentary has a nice lil appearance of Allen giving Chemo a massage after a long day on the trail!! Allen knows dog care and how to keep em comfortable and healthy on the trail!!

Linda Toth said...

Reassured that the extra care Allen gave them offset the cold and hardships of the trail.

Dawn E said...

Most excellent news! Thanks for keeping us in the loop!

marilyn cozzens said...

What a wonderful report on the great teamwork by SPK crew. The update on the dogs is very exciting for the rest of YQ & Iditarod. Allen seems to be getting refreshed & recharged --good news for winning YQ. Well done SPK.

Lourdes, VT said...

Those pups look so comfy and warm! Thank you All for the update and the care you put into the race!!!

Tom, Cindy & Hoss said...

Hilton resorts could not provide better accomodations, care and pampering than the SPKennel road crew does for the Black team. Fantastic!!