Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Coffee Litter Puppy Portraits


She was the first born.

Barista is the pretty girl of the litter. Her outstanding eye markings and long legs really make her a stand out.

She will often be found tromping across the field with her two brothers. She doesn’t like to be left behind!

Barista enjoys cuddling and kissing.

Barista is Sponsored by Wendy Brott.


Bean is a ball of energy.

She started life at half the size of her litter mates and has made a valiant effort at the food dish to catch up. She has been quite successful.

Bean is full of zip. She doesn’t always go the correct direction while ‘zipping’, but she does like to GO!

Bean will not sit still, so don’t ask her.

Bean is Sponsored by Sally MacDowell.

Creamer is sweet and somewhat shy.

She and Sanka are BBF.

Creamer is lighter-boned and will resemble Olivia’s side of the family.

She might hide under the dog house or go for a walk -- depends on the day.

Creamer will gladly sit and cuddle anytime you ask her.

Creamer is Sponsored by Bob & Jane Nelson.

Decaf is mellow (what a shocker, huh?)

He is not shy around the food dish. That boy can eat!

Decaf covers some ground on our daily walks.

He and Perky have a brotherly macho relationship.

Decaf thinks belly rubs are the best.

Decaf is Sponsored by Dawn Engler & Amy Baird.

Perky is, by far, the loud mouth of the litter. He screams for breakfast, lunch, dinner and all snacks in between. You can’t take a nap if he is unhappy about something.

Perky is exuberant and demanding.

He is often the first pup out on a walk.

Perky won’t sit still for loving, but he will gladly talk your ears off.

Perky is Sponsored by Suzanne and Brown Clodfelter.

Sanka is a ‘get up and GO’ kinda gal… from sleeping to ready in an instant.

She is an eye catcher with brilliant blues and a sleek dark coat. (She looks like her Uncle Scruggs.)

Sanka has more of a pensive curiosity. She will not follow unless she’s sure of the situation. Perhaps that's smart?!

Sanka prefers to play with chew toys than give kisses.

Sanka is Sponsored by Julie and Ron LaPoint.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Puppy Portrait Day

Oh. No, no, no.

You thought puppy portraits were completed and ready for viewing? HA! Not quite yet.

You know the way we say everything is challenging? Well… multiply that times 13!

The day started with the idea that we could somehow convince a 9 week old pup to stand pretty on a table. (Would the best show dog in the world stand on a table at 9 weeks?) Anyhow, Perky was our first candidate and he failed miserably. He thought the table was too high: "Yikes, scary!" and the stuffed squirrel was eatable "Hey… bring that squeaky thing back here!"

We then switched to the ground. Perhaps we could hold a puppy still while snapping a few quality shots. Nope. Creamer did her best to pose as she hung in mid air. I agree it's a pretty shot, but a hanging puppy?!?

Perky doesn't like the height but the squirrel looks good; Creamer 'hangs in there'.

Then we switched to a method that we have successfully used in the past: set up a background and have a 'puppy wrangler' wrap up in a sheet while helping the puppy "pose". HA!

Background READY; wrangler READY; Puppy READY!

This 'tried and true' method was still quite challenging! We think that some of our difficulties were due to our rookie photo assistants. These two were not as qualified as our past assistants. But they enjoyed their jobs!

In between snapping photos, Barb coaches her assistants Tig and Rambler; SMILE!

We now have 1,500 photos to go through. We are hoping that we might find ONE good one of each pup. Once we have this done, we'll get them on the website. Promise! Here's a few that didn't make the cut:

Bean's best side is up side down; Barista says "which way?"; Sanka prefers to cuddle.

Decaf likes belly rubs; Quito's little girl kisses; Quito's little boy likes to nuzzle.

The Coffee Pup Portraits will be posted Sunday.
The Golden Harness Pup Portraits will be posted next Sunday.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Felix Wins Fan Club Draw #4

Congratulations to Kate Laine who has won this week's draw. Kate is a fan of FELIX.

Felix is the never ending energy on the team - truly an Energizer Bunny. As he matures he more and more resembles his All-Star father, Biscuit. Felix is happy to be a sled dog and shows that with his amazing ability to just keep going, and going, and going...

Kate's winner's prize pack includes one of our limited edition T-shirts and some other goodies.

The next fan club draw is on December 11th. 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, November 26, 2015

What we're thankful for

We're thankful for our families and friends, our supporters and fans. And this handsome crew - they are our everything and who it's all about...

From all of us at SP Kennel, we wish you a happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Hooking up Teams

This time of year -- now that snow is falling and temperatures are dropping -- training runs are getting quite long. So, when hooking up teams, we want to be as efficient as possible in order to get out on the run ASAP. But, we also want to remember everything: fish snacks, headlights, extra harnesses, snow hooks, parkas, dog jackets, booties and much more.

Allen works with Schmoe next to the harness Rack; Two teams are almost ready to go.

When we hook up two training teams simultaneously, the sleds and mainlines are positioned in the middle of the yard. The harness rack is directly in the center. There is a clipboard on the rack with the names, harness sizes and positions of every dog on the team. Just in case, there is a permanent "cheat sheet" affixed to the rack that lists all dogs with their harness size. Each musher is generally in charge of hooking up his or her team ~ usually front to rear.

L-R Lydia is ready, Outlaw gets boots while Lester looks on; Chipper gets special treatment.

With our harness and line system there are no necklines. So after the dogs are harnessed and hooked into their position they will often mill around; sniffing, peeing and socializing. They understand that it is not quite time to leave. Our dogs enjoy this pre-run social time.

When it's time to work… the mushers says "READY?!?" and the dogs face forward, tighten their tug lines, quit socializing and are there to work! It's an awesome sight to see the teams leave the yard.

Teams One leaves the yard: Kodiak, Lydia, Spark, Schmoe, Scooter, Sissy, Chipper, Coal, Hotshot, Daisy, Sandy and Felix; Team Two is right behind: Junior, Commando, Scruggs, Dutch, Outlaw, Nomex, Clyde, Chemo, Violet and Pepe.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Training Run Along the River

In this video; Waylon and Kodiak are in lead; then Dutch and Sissy; Torch and Amber; Woody and Outlaw; and in wheel: Biscuit and Sandy.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


November sunrise over the SP Kennel dog yard.

It came to my attention today that the daylight in Two Rivers is quite limited these days. Sunrise this morning was at 9:36 AM and sunset will be at 3:34 PM. So, we will have the possibility of 6 hours and 4 minutes of daylight. This is super considering today we will have 6 minutes and 25 seconds more daylight than tomorrow.

Mid November makes me look at the sky and think back to mid June when we had all daylight hours. Of course, I am the kind of person who looks ahead as well… and December 21st is really just around the corner. On the shortest day of the year, the sun will rise just before 11 AM and it will set about 3 1/2 hours later.

Good thing dogs can see well in the dark!

Where the heck's the trail, Commando?!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Golden Harness Pups are 5 Weeks

It was 20 below zero Fahrenheit today in Two Rivers. Quito's puppies are living indoors at 30 above zero and "visiting" the chilly outdoors periodically. They are growing their fuzzy winter coats but aren't quite up to enduring our first cold snap of the season.

We thought you might enjoy a video of the youngsters' playtime in the big house.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Yukon Quest Trail

We have had a few snow falls in the last week and the trails are shaping up nicely. So much so, that we took several teams to the east of the kennel towards the first Yukon Quest Checkpoint. No one, except for the occasional fox or snowshoe hair, had been over the far side of the trail.

LOOKING WEST - No sign of the YQ trail!; LOOKING EAST - Chris and Wes rest the dogs.

Kodiak and Junior were the first dogs over this portion of Yukon Quest trail. The sibling duo laid down a very nice route that now all dog teams will follow for the remainder of the season.
That being said… it's nice to start the season being the FIRST place dog team on the Yukon Quest trail. We like that! We just need to keep it up until February 15th!

Kodiak and Junior pose for the camera while Mismo and Izzy take a break; Nacho and Cayenne and ready to go; Torch and Nomex are next; and in wheel are Wedgy and Felix (you can see Felix's head.)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Lester Wins Fan Club Draw #3

Congratulations to Kathy Ferrel who has won this week's draw.

Kathy is a fan of LESTER

Lester is the little man that everyone looks up to. He has been the ‘steady-as-he-goes' lead dog for several years now and despite his rather petite size and calm attitude, the younger dogs look to him for guidance. Lester is important and he knows it.

Kathy's winner's prize pack includes a mounted and signed photograph of Allen's 2014 Iditarod team along with a few other fun goodies. Coincidently, Lester was on Allen's team that year and, although you can't make him out in the photo, he was there!

The next Thanksgiving themed fan club draw is on November 27th. 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.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Windback Wednesday - Helping the US Armed Forces

At it is Veterans' Day / Remembrance Day in much of the world today, our Windback Wednesday takes us back to a few posts during the summer of 2012 by Kennel Mom Mickey. She tells us how SP Kennel was involved with a research project with Dr Mike Davis that directly helped the US Armed forces bomb-sniffing dogs!

Click on the red links below to take you to the stories including some great videos!

Helping the US Armed Forces

Vet Tech Christa, Ryne and Spoog begin research project in the new dog barn in 2012

Summer Research Means Summer Fun

Electrolyte Research Continues

Here are some excerpts:

SP Kennel's close association with Dr. Mike Davis, celebrated physiologist from Oklahoma State University, has created an unusual opportunity this summer.

Those of you who read the blog regularly will remember that Dr. Davis has worked for years with Iditarod veterinarians to increase overall health in long distance racing dogs. He has also studied insulin absorption and fitness levels in these dogs in hopes of equating the results to the treatment of human diabetes.

Dr. Davis is now working with the US Armed Forces to assess and improve the physical endurance of bomb-sniffing dogs, used primarily in current Middle East conflicts. And he has enlisted the help of SP Kennel to test the effects of varying electrolyte levels and different exercise regimes on overall canine endurance. We are honored to be part of this research.

Click on the link here to take you to a Youtube video of a TEDx talk Dr Mike did about the wider project.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Perky the Puppy

Why name a puppy "Perky"?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

White Mountains Sled Training

Alaska's White Mountains National Recreational Area is just an hour north of Two Rivers. The area is pristine and gorgeous. We have been trucking small groups of dogs (and mushers) to these training grounds so that we can all enjoy running in the snow on sleds.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Fall Training Howler is Here!

Our early season fall training "Howler" is here!

We hope you enjoy reading about our puppies: the Coffee Litter and the Golden Harness Litter, as well as some history about the DogLog.

We give you a run down of fall training so far with some great tips on not only improving the fitness of dogs physically but mentally also! We want our dogs to be positive, excited and enthusiastic while they are working. How do we do that?

Click on the picture on the right to link you with a PDF version of the Howler.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Sunday, November 1, 2015

New Portraits and Dog Cards Are Here!

We think you'll agree, Jeanne has done a fantastic job once again.

We've been wanting to do these kind of shots for ages and Jeanne pulled them off spectacularly! They show so much personality.

Take a look at how much the FIVE litter have grown!

Rodney and Ernie

Five and Ginger

Scooby and Mama Chica

We've been working hard to update the Racing Dogs' and Yearlings' team cards to incorporate our new portraits so we hope you enjoy them! We wanted to make the most of the fantastic full-body pictures so we've completely revamped the cards.

Check out the new Dogs Page for all the info about your favourite athletes and see their new portraits!

Let us know what you think and which is your favourite in the comments below. And, check out the little surprise on Quito's portrait!