New SP Kennel Crew member, Spencer, is our "kennel manager" this season.
Spence first got involved with sled dogs when he was 18 and living in Central Oregon. After working with a few different mushers, he decided to make a goal of learning as much as possible about driving and caring for sled dogs. He believed that if he wanted to be serious about dog mushing, he needed to move up to Alaska. The following year, he loaded his Subaru with his dog and everything he owned and began the haul up the Al-Can in the dead of winter.
For the last four years, he has being working with sled dogs in Alaska. He is addicted to the mushing lifestyle and has three huskies of his own - Ivan and Rooney get to participate in our training program, while five-month-old Berlin keeps the puppies occupied.
The day to day activities at SP Kennel's Two Rivers base of operations are certainly picking up in late October. As the Alaskan days get shorter, (we are losing nearly 7 minutes of daylight per day) the training mileage gets longer. Our days begin around 7:30 AM when we meet for coffee and to discuss goals for the day, then head outside and hit the yard around 8 AM.
Spence's day starts with feeding breakfast to everyone. The puppies get some personal time and are often moved to a play pen for the day. Then the yard is cleaned. Afterwards, we all check the weekly training schedule. It lists the daily mileage goals and training routes for the adult racers as well as for the yearlings, with whom Spence spends most of his time on the trail. On most days, there are one to four individual dog teams to be harnessed and trained. All dogs are snacked after each training run, followed by "dinner" at the end of the day.
Spence: Harnessing Viper; Walking Champ to the team; Snapping an enthusiastic Pepe to the line.
We hope to get a photo soon when Spence is actually looking at the camera - however, he's rather camera shy!