The training roster is finalized for September 1st. SP Kennel fans will notice a few missing names.
Each off-season we make the decision to retire a number of dogs to "make way" for the puppies from the previous summer. In fact, Aliy and Allen are thinking about a retirement plan for every dog, long before they are "due" for retirement.
Last season Aliy wrote this great post explaining how, when and why we do this. Essentially we have to keep our overall dog population in check so we enough time, effort, space and money to care for, train and race each SP Kennel dog. If our population gets too large, the dogs don't get the level of individual care and attention we like to give, so we have an optimum number for our small operation.
You already know that this spring we said farewell to Beemer and Viper. We also found forever homes for I.V. and Puppet, and have retired Rambler - although he is still living with us at the kennel as one of our couch dogs.
She now lives with her former sponsor, Teresa, her husband and toddler son in Fairbanks. She also spends time with her co-sponsor and "Step-Mom", Linda. I.V. has adjusted to her life as a pet dog - enjoying lots of walks and showing very little signs of her injury. She does, however, show her independent sled dog 'spirit' every once in a while. But, hey… who doesn't?
In April, "Puppet-dawg" (below) traveled to her new forever-home in Minnesota. The Louters family, including four enthusiastic kids, have a small kennel and plan to train for some shorter races in coming seasons. They also have Puppet's Mom, Tessa, at their house! Puppet was a great SPK dog and was on the winning Quest teams in 2013 and 2014. We choose to send her to a new home while she was 'still at the top of her game'. And the big news is that Puppet is new Mama, having had nine beautiful and healthy babies in June. The puppies’ father is a dog from a successful Yukon Quest Team in Alaska. By all accounts, Puppet is a great Mom and is enjoying life with her new family.
"Ramble-dawg" has quickly become accustomed to his new role as a house dog. He was Moira's cabin dog last season and has spent the summer on the deck at SP Kennel or with Mickey and Doug at their cabin down the road. We find that all of ChaCha's offspring make the transition to pet dog extremely easily. They are tough racing dogs but also have a very sweet nature.
Rambler's health has been a concern for nearly a year. He became somewhat lethargic, had significant hair loss as well as skin issues last Fall. After winter-long Veterinarian consults, biopsies, analysis, ultrasounds as well as a strict regime of holistic supplements there was no obvious answer. This June he was medicated for Cushing's disease as a 'last option'. After 3 months of serious drug therapy, Rambler has some significant improvement. We are thrilled!
L-R: Rambler 2013 Portrait; Rambler 2014 Portrait; Rambler current snap shot.
By retiring these five dogs from the SP Kennel training roster we have opened up five spaces. Ernie, Five, Ginger, Rodney and Scooby have incredible "shoes to fill" but we have very high hopes for these novice yet enthusiast pups to step up and become future All Star SP kennel sled dogs themselves.