Monday, August 24, 2015

Changes to the upcoming Training Roster

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.

Last summer, I.V. injured herself while playing with her neighbour Lester. She was immediately flown to a spine specialist in Anchorage. After an entire summer of rest and treatment, I.V. started training in the Fall. By November, she had a rear leg issue which was determined to be caused by her previous trauma. Training her to be a Champion sled dog was out of the question. This was a huge blow for us as she was an extremely talented sled dog and should have been on the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod with her brother Chemo instead of refreshing the race website GPS tracker (photo above).

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.


0300jh JeanneHammel said...

Look at I.V. cheering on the that!! Congrats to Puppet, what a beautiful mom and pups! Hang in there Rambler, glad to hear you're on the mend. We love the SPK updates and look forward to the upcoming season!!!

Cindy Schaus said...

SPK's kennel management plan, as well as your breeding practices really shows how much you love and respect the dogs. You really do want what is best for them. Very cool. You all are great ambassadors for the sport. I have watched some of the Run Dogs Run videos on the Iditarod website this Summer. SPKennel appears often in those videos. It's fun.

Barb, CO said...

I love how you take care of every member of the team, individually and with a carefully tailored plan. Everyone can tell how you see the fine grain detail of each of these dogs; this is especially visible in Rambler And what is not to love about Puppet Momma? Thanks for the updates.

Anonymous said...

Thanks you so much for this excellent re-cap of prep for the new racing year!!!

Rambler is such a fine dog, a model citizen. Hopefully he will react well to treatment and enjoy his new role "on the bench" close to Mom ChaCha and his mushers.

Love to Rambler, I.V. and Puppet - and a fond WOOF!!! WOOF!!! to retirees Viper and wonderful Beemer, too, fondly,


patricia lewis said...

I had a feeling about Puppet having a litter this year! Congrats. Love the photo -- she and the babies look wonderful.

Best wishes to all of the retirees. Enjoy!

Linda Toth said...

Puppet is a Mom again! Oh my. It's very satisfying to know that she is well-loved in her new home.

I am very happy to hear that the Cushings Disease treatment was the ticket.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you can adopt a few of Puppet's puppies. That is a cute photo of IV. Glad to see Rambler is getting better.

Anonymous said...

Ditto to all the comets above. Love that Linda is referred to as the Step -mom. She is certainly a great dog-lover.
Good luck to the news kids on the team. Go get'em little Ginger!

Nessmuk said...

These posts are always bitter sweet....sweet that SPK takes the time and energy to find each retiree a forever home (love that description!) , but yet bitter that we won't see and read about these dogs on the trail. I remember reading about IVs injury last fall...what a bummer....I recall an interview Allen was giving praising IV up and down.....she was a great sled dog and will be a great new family member I'm sure! And Rambler...SO glad you got his issues figured out....we are thrilled as well!! Puppet go girl in that new home...teach them pups how to be awesome like their Momma! Congrats to all the SPK Retirees!

A-town's Becky said...

Agreed, bitter sweet, always sad to see the amazing team members retire. But awesome to see the youngsters step up.

When you said Puppet took off during training, and went home on her own, I figured she would look to birth a handful of siblings to Belle, CJ, Fenton and Lefty sometime this year. Congrats Puppet.

Best wishes to all the family members who have moved on, and to the ones staying at SPK. Biscuit, you ol' dog, you're still hanging in there to train more pups? WHAT A GUY!!!

Anonymous said...

The torch is passed! So grateful to the dogs who ran their hearts out and to the door opening for the next generation.
go Ginger, Five, Scooby, Ernie and Rodney.

And thank you for taking time to share these passages.

Glad Rambler is looking brighter. Keep on the mend good dawg!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the "early warning" of upcoming retirements - woof, woof!!!

Gaye Morgan-Walton said...

Goodbyes are always kinda sad but inevitable. To know great dogs have great forever homes eases a bit of the sorrow and to look forward to watching the Surfivers come into their own is very exciting. Can hardly wait for news of their training. As always SPK rocks!!! Prayers Rambler continues to improve.