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.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Fire Litter is 3 years old!

Wow - how the times flies. Was it really 3 years ago this week that we evacuated the entire kennel due to the Stuart Creek Wildfire raging only a few miles to the south?

Left to Right: Chena, Spark, Coal, Torch, Daisy, Hotshot, Commando, Violet, Amber, Nomex and Tinder. (Photo by J. Schnackenberg)

The Fire Litter turns 3 years old this week. Mamma Olivia and Daddy Nacho are the proud parents of these pups who are predominately named with fire related themes or flowers that grow after a fire or 'one in a million' amazing dog names.

The litter was considered phenomenal by the first day simply due to its size: 11 puppies! And since then, these awesome dogs have really shined in talent, spirit and friendliness. They are going to be the power and energy behind many of the Racing Teams in the next few years.

Here they are:

Chena: Still shy and a bit submissive, but you wouldn't guess it after she raced 500 miles in lead on the Iditarod Black Team. Chena has confidence and speed and smarts. She enjoys playing with her siblings - Commando and Tinder are her favorites. She will be super important in the not-so-distant future. Chena stands out because she will be the first dog to howl, sometimes just by herself. Her ears do 'stand up' but never in photographs.

Spark: Is the silliest pup of the litter. He LOVES everyone and likes to play, play, play. (Note in this photo he is playing with a nylabone.) He raced on the Iditarod Black Team and came across the finish line alongside his father. (It was Nacho's 12th 1,000 Mile Race and Spark's 1st!!) Spark really shined on every team he raced on this year - his tough character meshed with his happy nature is sure nice to be around. We wish we knew more people like Spark!

Coal: Was never going to win the Yukon Quest. While he enjoyed running in harness, and was fairly talented, he simply wasn't going to be very competitive. In our attempt to always find 'the correct home, for the correct dog, at the correct time', Coal went to live with long-time kennel friend, Eunice. He is now sharing his home with one other dog - but in addition that he now has friends of all varieties: mustangs, chickens and emus! Yup… emus.

Torch: Is the lightest built dog of the litter and likes to travel fast. It will be fun to see who can keep up with him in the future. He did have a small 'wheezing' issue this Spring when the temperatures warmed up. We are hoping that this was something that he will grow out of over time. Torch is a very enthusiastic sled dog. He just wants to RUN!! Torch lives in the 'Bachelor Corner' of the yard with Hotshot. They both think they're very sexy… in a Justin Bieber kinda way.

Daisy: Has huge potential. She was a shoe-in for the Iditarod Black Team but came into breeding season just prior to the race. We have successfully raced females while in season, but this year we had quite a few replacements for her position. She sadly sat that race out. She was, however, a Rock-Star on the Yukon Quest 300. We expect great things from Daisy. She is also a very playful and enjoys rolling onto her back and entertaining her neighbors.

Hotshot: Is still learning the ropes. While he did complete several mid distance races this past season. His flaw is his youthful enthusiasm: in that it often gets the best of him! Hottie is a powerhouse but needs to tapper off and pace himself -- 1,000 miles if a LONGGGGGG WAYYYYY, buddy! Hotshot is super happy and loves to be the kid at the party who plays the longest then immediately falls asleep on the car ride home. He's kind of a sexy teenager… do you remember those days?

Commando: Has surpassed anyone's expectations. He has now raced three 1,000 mile races prior to his 3 year old birthday. Wowie. Commando is a big, strong guy and will help any team get to the finish line (hopefully first!) His 'Zorro' mask is still somewhat evident from his puppy photo. Quite the handsome boy. Commando is the sentry of the litter and will bark at any 'kennel intruders' but especially Ryne. He thinks her dog Jezzie is a Gremlin.

Violet: Is the bigger and sillier twin. (You can tell her apart from Amber due to her floppy ears.) She raced in everything this past season and is ready to do it again. She was very impressive in swing position during the Yukon Quest 300. A shift up to lead is next. Violet has moved up to an important spot in the dog yard -- right next to her mentor, Scout. Gulp?!?! It's amazing that we captured a photo of her with out her head cocked to the side.

Amber: Is hyper, nervous and has never-ending energy. In other words, if she were in Coal's shoes right now… every chicken would be dead! Amber has no 'pause' button but apparently she doesn't need one. She is a jumping jack rabbit when in harness and has a hard time sitting still. Amber is the smaller, pointy-eared twin. The twins came across the finish line on the Iditarod Black Team standing next to each other. What a great sight!

Nomex: Is still known for his 'big baby head'. He is sweet and friendly when he's not wrapped up with high strung sled dog energy. Nomex is a tough, hard working dog. He had lots of success last racing season and is headed for 'the Big Time' this winter. Nomex has the biggest body of any Fire Pup and might someday adapt to a more smooth gait. But, then again, he runs exactly like his Daddy -- that certainly can't be a bad thing. We always said that Nacho ran like a raccoon (of course, we didn't tell him that to his face!)

Tinder: Is GORGEOUS! He is the Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Damon of the sled dog world. He is also confident, smart and dedicated. Last racing season, he accomplished everything we asked of him and stood around asking to do more. As Tinder ages, he resembles his dad more and more. You better believe that we are happy about that! He is a pleasant dog to be around: not as 'pushy' as some of his siblings. He simply enjoys a tender head scratch.

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***Thank you Barbara for the wonderful photographs!***

13 comments:

Gaye Morgan-Walton said...

What a phenomenal bunch of growing dogsters. Wow, they are sure carrying on the bloodlines and honor of SPK and it looks like we will be seeing a lot more of them in the coming months and years. Glad Coal can be happy even if racing is not his thing. Guess we can't all be heroes but then being a fine K9 companion is a *pretty special job* also! So thank God for some of those too.

Dawn E said...

Oh beautiful dogs! Sad to see Coal moved on, glad he's in a happy place. He was the first dog I fell for and made the decision for me to sponsor a dog with SPK. Gonna be a busy year for the Fire Litter!

Holly Freeman said...

Love the updates of the Fire litter. Yea, they are going to make some fire when they race. Coming more and more into their sweet spot! And Tinder, are you going to be a next leading man? Could be!

Anonymous said...

Fire litter was a beautiful bunch in their puppy years. Now they are both beautiful and handsome!

Frances

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday Fire Litter! It has been so fun to watch you grow up and become racing dogs. I am looking forward to cheering you on in the upcoming years. I chose to be a fan of Coal because he seemed like a sweet goofball. I'm sure he is having great fun with Eunice and her animal family.

Val

A-town's Becky said...

Happy Birthday Violet!
Happy birthday Chena, Spark, Coal, Torch, Daisy, Hotshot, Commando, Amber, Nomex and Tinder. Congratulations to Coal for your move to the human companion, woman's best friend, mustang, chicken and emu watching position. We know how invaluable you will be helping Eunice keep it all together.
:-)
Thank you for the pics Barbara, and especially for getting such a great shot of my gal Violet!
:-)

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday FIRE LITTER!!!

What a lovely post, and we are so grateful to hear about this wonderful group of dogs!!! They are awesome-looking and you sound so pleased for them!!! They have grown up!!!

Thanks again for this birthday post, sincerely,

Margaret & Al

Kathy said...

Wow! What amazing descriptions of each dog. A Great bunch of dogs!
Thanks for the update.

Nessmuk said...

Happy Birthday Fire Litter!!! Wow....3 years already!!! Glad Coal has a nice Forever Home filled with critters he can "play" with! He always seemed like a sweet and sensitive guy! I'm really looking forward to seeing what this litter has to offer this year, and I'm still working hard on the Fire Litter ID....these pictures will help me hone my skills for the upcoming season!

Margaret said...

Super pix for doggie identification in the upcoming season!!!

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Thank you so very much for these - marvelous "up close and personal" pix!!!

I am so glad Chena learned to pose for any and every camera! And more than delighted to find out that she is a singer/vocalist as well as a grown up 3 year old speedy leader lady!

Again, thanks so much for the gorgeous picture (s) and thanks to your gifted photographer, too!!!

Cindy Schaus said...

They all have such different personalities and different rates of development. Daisy was the flirtatious dog distracting Clyde in his pre-YQ interview...fun interview. Thanks for all the information on these fabulous dogs. I'm happy Coal found the perfect home. Your careful consideration of where your dogs are placed post SPKdnnel is so great.

Marilyn Cozzens said...

Happy birthday Fire Litter. Each of you are such special dogs, wow 3 years old. So glad to see you all this week. Thanks so much for the great write up of each dog. They are truly outstanding dogs and have an awesome future. Soon you will lead SPK first under the burled arch in Nome! And TINDER you are the most handsome dog at SPK, I love you!!!

Padee McCrery said...

Thanks Aliy!
the cutiest ofdescriptions for them.
yeppers they are an amazing bunch. lots of running energy and love too. they got the best of both mom and dad. Cant wait to see what they do next Miss you Coal buddy, I know you are being loved, loved where you are and happy.
Padee Fairbanks