Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Golden Harness Litter Play Time

The Golden Harness litter is 11 weeks old! See them having some fun in the Puppy Play Room.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Coffee Litter Play Time

The Coffee pups are growing up fast!! Watch as they have some fun in the puppy play room.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ready to Roll

Aliy and Allen trucked 28 dogs up to the White Mountains National Recreation Area earlier this week. The trail conditions were ideal, as was the temperature, for a long training run. The moon was out for much of the night, so they didn't even need their headlights to see the mountains, dogs and beauty all around.

Before the teams left the trucks, all dogs were harnessed and bootied. Sleds were packed. Mushers were dressed and ready. The dogs were nearly getting bored simply waiting for the mushers. Sometimes (okay… most of the time… things just take longer than they should!)

Aliy noticed that the dogs were just sitting around and sulking because they had to wait. So, she grabbed her video camera and 'interviewed' the crew. For those of you that know her, you can tell that she's had a cup or two of coffee!

Here they are 'Ready to Roll… but waiting on their Mushers!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Kodiak Wins Fan Club Draw

Congratulations to Patricia who has won this week's draw. Patricia is a fan of KODIAK.

Kodiak was a born leader. He is confident in himself and his skills. Kodiak seems older than his years due to his calm exterior - he has learned from some of SP Kennel’s best. Look for Kodiak to be up front on many of the most competitive teams this season.

As we just ran the Solstice 50, Patricia's winner's prize pack includes Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association merchandise and some other kennel goodies.

The next fan club draw is will be during the Copper Basin 300! If you haven't already won this season or if you are a new member your name will be in the next draw.

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

Click this button below to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

We hope you all enjoy the festive season.

Coffee litter puppy pile taken during Portrait Day in November

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Red Letter Films

Last season the Yukon Quest participated in a film production with Red Letter Films of British Columbia, Canada. They are producing a documentary series about the Quest, the Mushers and the Volunteers for the French – Canadian Documentary Channel called Canal D. This is a short clip.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Winter Solstice

Happy Winter Solstice for those of you in the northern hemisphere! Conversely - Happy Summer Solstice to all our friends in the south!

Winter Solstice is a significant day for us, after a couple months of long, cold and dark winter days and nights, winter solstice is a celebration of the winter season we love so much and also a time to start looking forward to more daylight as we head into longer days.

We decided to celebrate with a kennel howl and would like to share it with you all!


Saturday, December 19, 2015

Solstice 50 Results

WOOHOO! Ally and the Red Team finished in 4th spot in the Solstice 50 in 4 hours, 31:09; with Chris and the Red and Black team just a few seconds behind at 4 hours, 31:30 in 5th position.

These are fantastic results for these two teams with a bunch of two-year olds getting some excellent experience! We're really proud of all 24 dogs and two mushers. Thanks to the support team also!!

Check out these great pics taken by Sebastian Schnuelle of the two SPK teams.

Chris and the R&B Team

Aliy and the Red Team

Red Team

Red Team - what a view!!

Chris and the R&Bs

Solstice 50 Update

Chris and his R&B Team drew bib #2 and left the starting chute at 11.02am. Ally and the Red Team wearing Bib #21 left the store at 11.40am so both have been on the trail now for over an hour.

Chris and Chena; Aliy with Commando and Lydia as Spark looks on

As there is no checkpoint to make up the time differential (to put everyone on equal footing due to the differences in starting times), the first team past the post is not necessarily the winner. There will be a time elapsed calculation made at the completion of the race by officials to ascertain the placings. Keep an eye on the TRDMA Facebook page for updates and results.

Here's a quick video taken by Mark at the first road crossing. You will see that it is well marked and well marshalled. This road crossing is one we use frequently and it is on a long straight piece of road so you have plenty of time to see any vehicles coming. Unfortunately there wasn't quite enough time to get Aliy and team on the trail and race up the road to catch Chris and the R&B team crossing.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Two Rivers Solstice 50 Team Rosters

The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association Solstice 50 kicks off at 11am on Saturday! Keep an eye on the Facebook page for updates and results.

Aliy will race the Red Team and Chris will have the Red & Black Team. As you know Allen and his POTENTIAL CB300 team will sit this one out and train differently in their lead up to the longer race in just a few weeks time.

The bib draw will be done just before the start of the race so at this stage we are unsure in what position Aliy and Chris will leave the Pleasant Valley Store. Click the pic below to take you to the course description.

Aliy's red team will be lead out by Lydia and Commando (pictured below), Waylon and either Scout OR Driver in swing (TBC), Chipper and Spark, Nomex and Chemo, Iron and Outlaw with Sandy and Daisy in wheel.

Chris' R&B team has Scruggs and Chena in lead (pictured below), Willie and Boonie in swing, big boys Woody and Mac will run together, followed by Coal and Violet, Hotshot and Cayenne then Pepe and Champ in wheel.

Click here to link you to the roster page that will give you more information about each (canine) athlete.

We will try to keep you updated as we can.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Minor Musher Injury

Allen and his team of 12 SP Kennel dogs have pulled out of the Solstice 50 Mile Race this weekend. He injured his big toe while driving a sled. Originally we thought he had broken his toe, but after x-rays, it's been determined to be "Turf Toe". This is a sprain of the ligaments around the big toe joint. It’s caused by jamming the big toe or repeatedly pushing off the toe forcefully -- sound like running up a mountain along side a dog sled? Yup!

The Copper Basin 300 Mile Race starts in only 23 days. There is plenty of time to rest and recuperate the toe. But, that means sitting out the 'Season Opener'. So, SP Kennel will only have two teams in the event this weekend. We are sorry to sit the 12 dogs out of the race, and they would probably do it with out a musher, but they will have to hold out for the Copper Basin 300.

As you can see… we think the dogs are READY to run!

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Updated Puppy Page

We've updated the puppy page with team cards for the 12 little'uns and thought we would share them here for you first. You can access the page any time by clicking on the "Puppies" button on the left.

Sincere thanks to all the puppy sponsors! This season we welcome some new members to the SP Kennel Dog Sponsor Family. We appreciate you all and hope you enjoy following the progress of your little ones.

"Zesty" is now at her new home with Joar and Mille at their kennel in Willow. We won't lie, it was a very tough decision for Aliy and Allen, and it was very hard to see her go but we wish them all the best and can't wait to see her again out on the trails of the Iditarod! Bye-bye sweet girl. Go well.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dog Booties… again

Every season it seem we talk about dog booties.

So, here we go again:

Dog booties are critical.

They protect dogs' feet before any injuries can occur. That's key.

We use booties at various times and for various reasons. They are distance dependent -- we might booty all dogs for long runs. They are temperature dependent -- we might booty all dogs at temperatures below -20 degrees F. They are dog specific -- we might booty individual dogs all the time.

Scout (above) thinks that you shouldn't talk badly about his booties!

Here is a little BOOTY RANT by Aliy:

All in all, booties are a pain in the tush. They require a musher to assume the 'standard musher position' (bent over at the hip with my head down by my knees) for extended periods of time both putting on booties and taking off booties. They require ungloved hands in order to get that velcro strap just tight enough to not slip down a dog's foot. Therefore, booties, notoriously, create cold hands. Really cold at -30 degrees F! After each use, booties have to be dried out. What do you think our garage smells like? And mind you… there might be a little bit of dog poo on the drying canine footwear. That's not all. Then, booties have to be sorted after they dry: trash booties with holes and reuse booties with out holes. You are not done yet. Now booties have to be sized. WHAT?!? Not every dog wear's the same size booty? Nope. Have you looked at Mismo lately? Now take a look at Lydia. Yup. Different booties for different dogs. Our system of dog booties have different velcro colors that differentiates sizes. Last step. Each dog has four feet. Huh? Now take four (dried, sorted, sized) booties and link them together with the velcro into sets of 4's. Now… go back to your dog team and get after it!
You gotta LOVE booties!

2015 Yukon Quest
-37 F start: How do those fingers feel, Aliy?; Mile 900: How does that back feel, Allen?

Ready-to-train dog booties.

The Booty Fairy was at SP Kennel this weekend and decorated the garage with a Christmas booty theme. Let's just say that it doesn't quite smell like Gingerbread around here!

The Christmas Booty Fairy was a SP Kennel yesterday!

At various times throughout the season we have had Booty Fairies drift through SP Kennel, pick up a sack of "to be sorted" and bring back a sack of "ready to train".
Thank you to everyone of you Fairies! (And please… come on back… we've got more!)

Friday, December 11, 2015

Outlaw wins Fan Club Draw #5

Congratulations to Crystal who has won this week's draw. Crystal is a fan of Outlaw.

Outlaw has grown in spirit and body this summer. He was a “main man” last season and promises to fill that spot again this year. He is a beautiful dog with incredible strength. Outlaw is already trying to prove that his performance last season wasn’t a fluke.

Crystal's winner's prize pack includes a Holiday ornament with Outlaw "Mug Shot" and other kennel goodies.

The next fan club draw is on Christmas Day! If you haven't already won this season or if you are a new member your name will be in the next draw.

Due to popular demand, we will soon be opening the Dog Fan Club up to include the Coffee and Golden Harness Puppies so shortly you will be able to show your support for the youngest members of the family!

Watch this space!

Click the button below for instructions on how to join:

Click this button below to take you directly to the Dog Fan Page.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

December Sunset

Wendy and Aliy took out some smaller teams on a short run several days ago. It was beautiful.

Aliy's team was: Quito, Wedgy (in lead), Mismo(single swing), Nelson and Ginger, Scooby and Ernie (in wheel).
Wendy's team was: Lester and Five (in lead), Rodney (single swing) and Biscuit and Nutmeg (in wheel).

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Two Rivers Solstice 50 and 100/200

The Two Rivers Dog Mushers Association - our home club - is holding two races in the next couple months, their Solstice 50 race in December and later in January is their 100/200 mile race. SP Kennel has entered multiple teams in both races!

Three teams are entered in the Solstice 50 which kicks off at 11 AM Saturday morning, December 19th at Pleasant Valley Store. The race field is limited to 30 teams and it is currently full. See the details of the race HERE. Or check out the Two Rivers Dog Mushers Facebook page for updates.

SP Kennel always loves to enter this early season race to give the teams a good run and give some youngsters the experience with other teams and the race environment. This will be the first race of the season and will be used as training build-up for the Copper Basin 300 in January.

In the January 100/200 mile race, there will be three teams entered as well. Aliy and Chris will both race. The third team is under review. Allen's Yukon Quest team may enter or Wes may enter a rookie team. The decision will be made as we near the event date.

This race kicks off at noon on January 22nd at the Chatanika Lodge with checkpoints at the Two Rivers Lodge, Pleasant Valley Store and Angle Creek Lodge. The trails are all very familiar to us and we are excited to run them.

These races will be a good build up and part of the training schedule for the Yukon Quest and YQ300 just a couple weeks later.

We'll post more details and race team rosters closer to the time.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

The Golden Harness Puppy Portraits

While Jeanne was at the kennel in October taking Race Dog Portraits, Quito's pups were only 10 days old. Some eyes weren't even open yet! So, we decided it was easier to take a group shot. Aren't they adorable?

The pups have grown up and are now healthy and happy 8 week old today.
Here they are:


Bruno is the small boy with a big attitude and lots of energy. On the puppy walks he will be the first one to stand directly under your legs.

He is also a loud mouth.

With his short coat and if his ears stand up, he'll look a lot like his Daddy.

Aliy has always wanted to name a pup Bruno. It's a great name for a spunky little guy. So here he is.

Good boy, BRUNO!


Dancer has been the first to do everything and will tackle her siblings to get ahead.

She is downright sassy.

Dancer was born a lot darker than her siblings and had a prominent white belly. She squirmed a lot when she was young, always nudging and dancing her way to the best nursing spot.

She has a thick husky coat.

Dancer is named after our beloved ChaCha.


Jefe is a climber. He climbs fences, houses and people. Wendy has toenails scratches on her neck to prove it.

He is a traditional looking husky - especially if his ears stand up.

Jefe (the "boss" in Spanish) was named after one of SP Kennel's great leaders, Hoss. The naming went something like this… "Hoss was the boss. Boss.. hummm I think that's jefe in Spanish."

A Spanish name seems appropriate for one of Quito's babies.


McCaw is a big, strong boy, yet sincerely sweet.

He has become more and more active as he gets used to his long legs and body.

McCaw has one of the neatest colorations of any pup at SP. We don't know where that spotted cream-colored variation comes from.

Moira named McCaw after the most talented and successful Rugby player in the world. (Who also happens to be from New Zealand.) Go McCaw!


P.C. is petite, independent and feisty. She doesn't think she's small.

Her coloration has changed over the weeks from cream-colored to almost silver. Her mask has become more and more defined. She's a beauty!

P.C. stands for Probably Chevie. She is named after Aliy's grandmother, Chevie McDonald, but since we won't decide who will go to Joar until the last minute we couldn't let him have a pup named after Grandma! Therefore she has been referred to as P.C.


Q.T. is a little shy. So much so, that she didn't want to 'smile for the camera'.

Her brown markings are very similar to those of her Father's.

Q.T. is a racy girl with a slighter build and a 'come and get me' attitude.

Q.T. is short for 'the cutest puppy in the world' which of course… she is!
Plus, how many dogs do you know whose name starts with a "Q"? We can think of one in particular.


Zesty is zesty! She doesn't back down from much. If there's something to chew on -- shoe lace, hair tie, brother -- she'll have it in her mouth.

She is a bit more stocky than most of her siblings. But, she's still fast!

Zesty was named 'Socks' for quite some time because of her two white socks. Zesty seems to fit her personality a bit more. Plus, the word zesty just seems to roll out of Allen's mouth.

All puppies will have sponsors and we will announce them shortly.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Safety in Mushing

This season we have made an investment safety.

Safety in Mushing is something we don't think about until "something happens". But, in our world of: wilderness, physical challenges, extreme temperatures, environmental hazards, lots of dogs and independent (sometimes unpredictable) mushers, there is one thing we can guarantee: Something's gonna happen!

This week, after our first "Safety Meeting" of the season, we decided to start carrying our DeLorme InReach satellite communicator. We can easily toss this small device into the sled bag or parka pocket of a musher who is headed out on a training run. There are options on the device that can allow a person with internet access to track the location of the device and thus, the musher and team. There are also options on the device for "Come Get Me" and "Everything is Okay". Of course, it is rare that one of us would be sitting at the kennel, just twiddling their thumbs, watching SP Kennel dog teams trot down the trail on the internet. But, stranger things have happened!

Allen took the Sat. Communicator in his parka pocket. This is halfway through the run.

Technology these days is incredible and dog mushers are using it as well as the rest of the world. This device would obviously not be allowed on a race. But, most races these days use tracking devices and technology of their own.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

New Collars

Every year we get new dog collars. As you can imagine, after covering thousands of miles during a long winter, followed by playing all summer on the local muddy trails and swimming in beaver ponds -- a dog's collar needs to be changed. So our bright red colors are bright red again. Thanks to folks at "Alaska Made" in Healy who have been making our collars for a few years.

Outlaw likes hugs with his collar; Chemo shows off his name.

During the November's fitness check and weigh in we switched out collars. Before doing so, we wrote each dog's name in permanent marker and we attached their metal identification tags.

Pretty dogs with pretty collars!