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.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

SP Kennel Retirees: The Dog Page looks Different


You will notice that some of the faces on the "SP Kennel Dogs" are missing. This is true. So the questions is: "When do you retire a dog from SP K Racing?"

That's often difficult to answer because, you guessed it: everyone is different.

The long answer to this question starts with our belief that each dog deserves quality individual time. In order to give the youngest SP Kennel members an honest, quality shot at becoming the absolute best sled dogs that they can become - we must spend enough time and effort with each youngster during their training years.

Let's be honest… I enjoy watching the SP youngsters. And it is critical that we get to know these future All-Stars while they are developing. I have no desire to turn our young dogs over to someone else to raise and train. They are our future. We want to know every little detail about them. Imagine the high we've felt while watching Quito grow from a scrawny puppy; to a tall, thin yearling; to a novice, budding two year old and now a two-time Yukon Quest Golden Harness recipient and Iditarod All-Star lead dog. It is incredibly rewarding to know that we have been with her through all of these times of her life.

So, in order to have enough time, effort, space and money to care for, train and race each SP Kennel dog, we have to keep our overall dog population in check. That means we carefully select who will retire from SP Kennel racing, who will move to the couch and who will move on to a new home. The number of dogs that we retire each year is correlated to the number of puppies we raised the previous summer. It only makes sense that the SP K 'newbies' will try to replace the SP K 'retirees'.

If you have followed the kennel for any length of time you know that the 'Puppy Class' from 2013 - now the 'Yearling Class' - is very large. There are 11 Fire Pups plus Champ and Cayenne - a total of 13 one year old dogs. Due to our kennel management technique, this summer we needed to retire the same number.

It was incredibly challenging to choose who would retire. And just as challenging to let go some of these guys to far away homes. Not only did a few of these dogs have another year or two of racing under their harnesses, but also because they were part of the SP Kennel family. But, the knowledge that we find every dog the right home at the right time makes the process doable.

All of these dogs went to forever homes. Sometimes it's an easy transition and sometimes it's more challenging. The most important thing is that these new owners can find the joy that each individual dog has to offer.
  1. Bonita
  2. Boris
  3. Fang
  4. Honda
  5. Kipper
  6. Malibu
  7. Pud
  8. Ranger
  9. Shiner
  10. Spicy
  11. Spoog
  12. Tatfish
  13. Tug

Everyone loves Tatfish; Pud and new puppy buddy, Aria; Spoog and new BFF, Edie.


Tug (right) and friends look for squirrels; Yes… that is a cat couch surfing with Malibu!

10 comments:

A-town's Becky said...

Biscuit? Does my favorite hero Biscuit get to hang around SPK a little longer to pass his stellar skills on to the youngsters?!!!

Nessmuk said...

Yes, I noticed some dogs were missing off the dog page....always kind of sad seeing them retire but I find solace knowing you carefully re-home them into great places!! Happy Retirement SPK Dogs....you all done good!!

Jim S. said...

Gonna miss da Tatfish..... )-:

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the official word on 4-legged team membership for 2014-2015!

And it is lovely to see our friends enjoying retirement - Pud is clearly part of someone's training staff, checking out gait, alertness, etc.

And Spoog is pleased to join his Daddy in early retirement - and looks to be having fun with a lady friend (he has his Daddy's charm, I guess).

What a great life-plan SPK develops for each individual dog!!! Woof!!!

Christine Richardson said...

Pud is super happy in his new home and is so good with the Aria and her sister Riviera. I'm sure he teaches them all that he knows!

Barb, CO said...

One thing I can tell for certain: all your dogs are well loved and live exceptional lives. I love to hear that your dogs are going out to homes too. This gives me so many more ways to imagine their happy lives both with you and because of you.

Margaret said...

SP Kennel is so special!!! Thanks for reporting on the post-racing set ups for your retirees!!!

Looks as if Tug is going to try out for hunting dog - "to hounds"! And I might advise Malibu to not be so trusting of cats...if anyone remembers the movie "Babe"...

Thanks again so much for the report!

marilyn cozzens said...

Thanks so much for the update on the retirees. Knowing how much you love & care for each dog means the dogs have gone to excellent homes. Without the dogs there would be no racing, kennel, or etc. The dogs are EVERTHING, which makes me so excited for the upcoming racing season. I am looking forward to seeing Tinder on a racing team this year! Happy retirement you thirteen dogs, we are all proud of you. GO SPK.

Lourdes, VT said...

It's kind of bittersweet to say good by to those beloved dogs... especially Tatfish!Is he in Florida now?
Your dogs are very fortunate to have been raise by you guys and also, to have very carefully chosen homes where they'll have a great life!!!!

Linda Toth said...

It's hard to see friends leave - even when I know they are going to wonderful, wonderful homes. So, I cheered myself up by looking at the Dog Page .. Man!

It will be an exciting season, watching the humans and the seasoned dogs mold those 12 dogs who have not yet run YQ 1000 or the Iditarod into stars. I am looking forward to watching the Latino litter move fully into the Big time, and the Golf Litter and Olivia/Nacho's four begin to login those race miles.