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.
Meet and Greet at the Crowne Plaza, Anchorage, March 6th 4.00-5.30pm - see you there!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Iditarod Howler is Here!

We hope you enjoy the Iditarod edition of the SP Kennel Howler newsletter.

This edition is focussed on the recap the successful Yukon Quest and Yukon Quest 300 races and a look forward to the Iditarod, starting this weekend.

We've included the new Iditarod route map so you can follow along.

Click on the picture on the right to take you to the on-line version of the Howler!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

ID: Build-Up and Timetable

The Iditarod is fast approaching and we are excited!

This week we are taking all the dogs on their final runs and making last minute preparations for the race. Just like any elite athlete training for a big event, their final runs are not long training runs, rather shorter stretch-out runs as they taper off ready for the race start on Monday.

Our timetable for this week is as follows:

On Wednesday afternoon Aliy and Allen fly to Anchorage and attend sponsor events that evening.

Thursday morning is taken up with sponsor events and then musher meetings, while the dogs and the rest of the crew drive to Anchorage. Even though the re-start is in Fairbanks, every dog must be present in Anchorage for the final vet identification checks and the ceremonial start (not all dogs run in the ceremonial start but must be present none-the-less, this makes it fair on all teams whether they are locals or have travelled far).

On Thursday evening we attend the Iditarod Bib Draw and Starter's Banquet at 6pm at the Dena’ina Center. At the same time the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame presents Aliy with the Trajan Langdon Award - we will split the crew between the two events.

On Friday we have some sponsor activities during the day then there will be a Meet and Greet with Aliy, Allen, a few dogs and the crew on Friday from 4.00-5.30pm at the Crowne Plaza. We look forward to meeting some of you there! After that, the crew then zooms off to attend another sponsor event in the evening.

Of course, in between all these events we feed, walk and spend quality time with the dogs!

Saturday morning is the Ceremonial Start on 4th Avenue. It starts at 10am but teams will be at their trucks in the surrounding area from about 8am. Drop by to say Hi! We always enjoy the Ceremonial Start as it is a celebration of the race and our dogs; fans, supporters and sponsors. We love to see everyone lining the streets waving and clapping and being as excited as we are about the start of the race.

On Saturday afternoon, once the Ceremonial run is complete, we all pile back into the trucks and head up the Parks Highway for home.

Sunday we'll close the kennel to all visitors, phone calls, emails and other contact as we stretch out the dogs for their final short run and pack the trucks and sleds. This is "game face" time for the entire crew. We'll give our canine and human athletes a nice dinner then let them get a good night's rest. This year we are looking forward to having everyone be able sleep in their own beds the night before the race.

The race Re-Start is on Monday morning at 10am on (or near) the Chena River in west Fairbanks. We'll maybe see some of you there!

The crew sees the team again at the Nenana checkpoint but after that Aliy, Allen and our canine friends are gone from us for a while. We will follow remotely by Iditarod Insider trackers and videos and from the reporters that are covering the race - just like you all.

Are you ready? We sure are!

Edit: we have just heard we do not have to take every dog to Anchorage for the ceremonial start. The ceremonial teams must be chosen from the 37 dogs we had vet checked but those dogs are not required to be in the re-start team on Monday. Once a dog has run for one musher on the ceremonial run they may not transfer to another musher - stay tuned as there may be some surprises in the Ceremonial squads! Team rosters will be posted the night before or the day of the race!

Monday, March 2, 2015

ID: Meet and Greet in Anchorage

You are invited to meet Aliy and Allen on Friday, March 6th at the Aurora Ballroom at the Crowne Plaza in Midtown Anchorage (109 W. International Airport Road) from 4.00-5.30pm.

Aliy and Allen will spend a some time sharing stories from the trail and showing videos; then there will be some time afterwards to personally meet and greet them and some of the crew! We will have a few dogs with us so you can have your picture taken with them also. Plus, everyone through the door is in with a chance to win some great SP Kennel give-aways!

The Crowne Plaza is a sister hotel to our sponsor hotel Comfort Inn Downtown - Ship Creek and we are grateful to both teams for helping organise and hosting this event.

We're looking forward to seeing you there!

All the while the crew is in Anchorage we will be staying at the Comfort Inn Downtown - Ship Creek. Click the logo below to see the special "Friends and Family of SP Kennel" deals!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Beemer's Big Day Out

Yesterday I went to Anchorage - the reason on my veterinarian health permit said "Celebrity Meet-and-Greet appearance" - I guess I'm pretty famous!

Moira and I set off early from the kennel for Fairbanks International Airport. The lovely ladies at Alaska Airlines liked me a lot! I was pretty relaxed about the whole thing, even laying down for a quick nap as Moira checked us both in for our flight. The flight was quick and she was there to collect me at the other end.

We met our friends Linda and Midnight who took us for a breakfast burrito and some kibble (Moira had the kibble… Ha! Just kidding!) then we walked along Midnight's favorite trail. I checked a few pee-mails and left a few messages for the other dogs in the neighborhood.

In the afternoon we attended a Meet and Greet at the Verizon store and Aliy and Allen met us there! They were already in Anchorage for another event... Okay, maybe they are the celebrities, I'm not sure…

Relaxing while meeting and greeting; napping while meeting and greeting

There were loads of people wanting their photo with me and I gave them some kisses. It was fun to meet everyone and walk around to see all the cool gadgets in the store but I did my best to catch a few naps during the day also.

After that we went to our friends Barbara and Molly's house for a while. I played with Molly and relaxed a bit before getting back on the plane for our flight home. I napped on the plane.

Relaxing at Molly's house; relaxing while meeting Molly

It was a long day but I had lots to tell my neighbours Viper and Lester about when I got home.

Friday, February 27, 2015

YQ: Black Team Wrap-Up

In a final look back at the Quest, Aliy interviewed Allen about his team the other day. I've transcribed the conversation… there was a lot of laughter and a few out-takes but here's the run-down of each of Allen's team mates.

Mr Moore, can you please tell us about the dogs on your team, perhaps starting from the youngest to the oldest. The youngest dogs on your team were Isabelle/Izzy, Clyde and Outlaw. They’re all three years old. Tell us about them.

Well, being three years old there were definitely the peppiest.


Peppiest. They had pep for most of the race. It’s exciting to see that they were fantastic. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

Izzy – how’d she do?

Izzy was in swing for most of the time


Why? Because she was always pulling, and we definitely want the ones that pull the most closer to the front, or you get an accordion effect and we don’t want that.


She was always up there, peppy and ready to go.

She had a good attitude all of the time?

A good attitude, ate well, climbed well, slept well… all of the above.

Alright, how ‘bout the brothers Outlaw and Clyde?

Outlaw and Clyde… well Clyde, I guess, first of all, …

I know you had him in back because he was very excited about Quito being in heat?

He was. We had to do a little arrangement because Quito was in lead so all the boys that were not neutered had to be way back, especially him, so I put him in wheel. It may have energized him a little bit – it may have energized her too. But anyway, he has always been the best eater and usually that correlates to having the most energy. He’s only three years old and this is his fourth 1000 mile race so you can’t beat that.

Did he run anywhere else in the team?

The last run I moved him up a little bit because he, again, ate well and pulled well so he was moved up, but I still had to keep him so far behind Quito.

How about Outlaw?

It was a little bit tougher on Outlaw because, although it was his second 1000 mile race, it was his first really competitive 1000 mile race. He did well until he started to get a little dehydrated so he wasn’t on his A-game anymore. His bicep was tender coming into the last checkpoint so I decided to leave him there.

Was he barking at the start?

He was, he was barking going up those hills, several dogs were. I was excited to see the performance that he put out.

The next dog to talk about, who is a four year old, is Chemo.


So how’d that little guy do for ya?

Chemo was mighty steady and that’s why we had him in there. We had the option of taking a couple different dogs other than him but we knew he had good weight, he’s always steady, he eats pretty well and he did exactly what we wanted him to do.

Who’d you run him with most of the time?


And they were a good combination together?

They were, they worked very well together, both similar in style of running so it worked out well.

Chemo has been in lead some times during the year but you chose not to put him up there?

I did choose not to, when you have something working at the moment you stick with it – that’s my motto – so I stuck with it. So he never did have to go in lead. If he’d have still been in my team at the end of the race I probably would have put him up there but he was favoring a couple of sore feet coming into the last checkpoint so I decided to leave him there.

Now, the five year olds on the team. That’s a group of siblings and one oddball. The oddball is Mac and the siblings are Scooter, Sissy and Schmoe. So how’d big Mac do for ya?

Big Mac, he’s another steady dog and there’s definitely no-one who pulls any harder than he does. Matter of fact, when he had to go to the bathroom he could stop just about the whole team. He was in the middle of the team so usually there would be six or seven dogs that he could stop that were in front of him. So it’s good and bad that he has so much strength, and that’s the bad side.

He’s known for screaming and getting excited now and then, did he do that at all during this race?

He did, there were a couple occasions when cars would pass when we were close to roads and I don’t know why that gets him excited but all of a sudden he’ll let out a scream that you’ll think someone just hurt themselves. But it does get all the other dogs excited and got me kinda excited too.

Now, I saw you kinda had an interesting combination there, you ran Mac with Waylon (right). Was there any reason behind that?

Yeah, it’s just funny looking. Last year I ran him and Boondocks which is the largest and smallest dog in the kennel and Waylon’s not far from it so it’s pretty comical that Waylon can run underneath his legs and he doesn’t even know it.

Alright, how bout the siblings. Sissy, let’s start with her, then Scooter and Schmoe.

Sissy is a pretty perky gal. With floppy ears going, she did awesome. Her biggest fault is her pooping. She tries to hold back the whole team but she just doesn’t weigh enough. But she was always driving and definitely a catalyst to our success.

Wow, a catalyst to our success?


Alright, come up with something for Scooter that tops that!


Scooter – I just like saying Scooter! I had Scooter up close to the front coz she was pulling really well. She’s ways a screamer, an excitable young gal that whenever you stop she goes nuts ready to go again. You’ve gotta have a few cheerleaders in the bunch and she was definitely a cheerleader.

She finished the race however she got a bit dehydrated at the end, like some of the others, and was not 100% so she didn’t pull as hard as she did before, but she did excellent overall.

Alright – Schmoe-Dawg?

Schmoe-Dawg – he was probably the strongest dog I had in my whole team.

The whole team? Is he your MVD?

Quite possibly – just because we had Quito in single lead leaving the last checkpoint even and I needed another dog up there that could kinda pull it’s weight in lead and I said “why not him?” because he was in swing at the time. I put him up there and he was always tight, even more tight than Quito a lot of times. I just had to put up with his rambunctiousness, meaning he liked to pee on every tree he sees – and we did see a tree or two – but other than that he did very well. So, I was very proud of him.

Willie and Waylon?

Willie and Waylon, the honkey-tonk litter. Willie (right) was in wheel and he’s in wheel because he knows how to run that position pretty well. He’ll go under the line if it’s six inches off the ground.

And that was challenging with all that ice I bet!

Very challenging, we went over 30 miles of jumble ice and he had to go under the line, because if you go over it you’re tangled automatically. So he could get under the line on both sides and straighten the team out. He was always a puller also, he was never not pulling, never a problem. You just kinda forget about him sometimes because he’s always there. No trouble.

Now, his brother Waylon. It seemed like you had a lot of clothing on him at 40 or 50 below…

Waylon looks like he’s just stripped down naked when he’s running. It’s just hard not to put something on him, especially when we started the race at 40 below, we couldn’t put enough on him. And he carried that armor just about the whole race. You could barely see the dog through all the clothes, it looked kinda silly but he got through it and he didn’t lose too much weight. He finished strong.

Alright – Scout?

Scouters started out the race in lead and led for quite a while, he was loping the whole way up until probably 700 miles into the race where he started to feel less than 100%. I had to move him back further and further because he lost energy because he was a bit dehydrated. At Circle I had to drop him, I hated to and I knew if he had a day to get over it and he’d be fine but I didn’t have a day so I had to drop him. But he’s an excellent dog.

Scout was pretty stinkin’ important for a long time, was he not?

He was, very important. He was the one who kept the pace, kept Quito going. He wasn’t worried about anything except what I wanted to be done. You’ve got to have someone that will listen to you and follow direction and you know they’re going to do what you want.

Then the three siblings. Nacho, Chica and Quito.

Wow the eight year olds. Wow, there’s a lot you could say about them.


It’s hard to individualize them because they’re all about the same. They’re probably the best dogs we’ve ever had. Nacho himself, we have a lot of pups out of him and for good reason because he’s always been at the top of his game. Even at eight years old he’s still a puller.

He sure was happy at the finish line.

He was, he’s always a happy dog, happy pointy eared dog who likes to run. As does his siblings.

Then you’ve got Chica and Quito. Chica is an awesome dog! Quito lead the whole race, as she has done for numerous years and the reason behind our numerous wins and seconds places. The one thing we have to come up with is another Quito. Without Quito we would be a normal, average team and she makes a normal average team become a great team.

The Spanish litter – that’s what they all are actually – they make a normal team become a great team.

All photos by Mary-Beth Schreck

Thursday, February 26, 2015

ID: Blood Draw, ECG and Vet Checks

Yesterday was a big day for SP Kennel. We took 37 potential Iditarod dogs to Fairbanks to have their ECGs (electro-cardiogram) and blood taken for analysis by the Iditarod veterinarian team. We then took them for their physical veterinarian checks.

Every dog running the Iditarod must pass these rigorous checks before they are declared fit to start the race. The ECGs are read by a cardiologist to look for any anomalies in their heart. The blood tests are scrutinised by the Iditarod veterinarian team who run a blood count (CBC) and a chemistry panel to check for liver and kidney function. The team looks for any inconsistencies that could compromise the dog's ability to run the race.

Clyde hams it up for the camera with Jan; Mismo with Samantha and Sabrina

This year the team in Fairbanks was Tabitha Jones (AK), Shannan Hunter (WA), Jan Bullock (MT), Sabrina Pennington (WA) and Samantha Freeborn (AK) and took great care with our team mates. There were the old pros like Nacho and Willie who have been there many times before but then there were dogs like Chipper and Commando who were there for the first time. Thanks gals for being so patient and kind with our team!

Outlaw has a new girlfriend in Samantha; Scooter getting her ECG from Tabitha and Shannan while Moira looks on

We then visited Dr T Rose, our kennel vet, for the thorough physical exam which they all passed with flying colors - they're looking fitter than ever!

Dr TRose checks out Izzy while Beemer patiently waits his turn; the Vet Check form

I asked some of the team about what they were doing and why:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Verizon Meet and Greet in Anchorage

Are you in Anchorage this weekend? Come to the Tikahtnu Commons Verizon Wireless store this Saturday from 2-4pm to meet Aliy, Allen and Beemer.

At the same time you can talk to the experts in-store to check out what Verizon Wireless has to offer.

Come and have your picture taken with the team and hear some great stories. You could even win some great prizes! We look forward to seeing you there!

Edit: we're still working on details for Iditarod Meet and Greet on March 6th, we'll let you know asap.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

YQ: Prizegiving and Banquet

Last night a bunch of us attended the Yukon Quest Finisher's Banquet and Prizegiving in Fairbanks.

The evening was full of fun as we heard stories and thank yous from each musher. We heard so many great stories of the hospitality of not only the checkpoints, but the remote stops such as Scroggie Creek, Stepping Stone, Slaven's Roadhouse, Forty Mile and Trout Creek cabin.

We heard tales of Eagle Summit and Rosebud, of fifty below and jumble ice, of camaraderie and sportsmanship on the trail and most of all, of phenomenal dogs. For every musher it all came back to their dogs.

For his second place finish Allen won this beautiful knife from Alaska Rod's.

Congratulations to all the Special Award winners - you can find a list here!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

YQ: Black Team Journey

Follow Allen and the Black Team on their Yukon Quest journey from Whitehorse to Fairbanks.

What a team!

Friday, February 20, 2015

YQ: Meet The Musher

This evening was the Meet the Musher event at the Alpine Lodge in Fairbanks.

A steady flow of fans, family and supporters got the mushers to autograph posters, T-shirts and postcards and got photos a-plenty.

It's a great event for the public to meet some of their favorites - and it's the first time some of the mushers get to talk to each other since the start nearly two weeks ago.

Ed Hopkins (3rd), Brent Sass (1st) and Allen (2nd) were sitting next to each other so I asked for a photo. This is what I got!

I got a serious one also...