Where are they now?

One of the most common questions we get on tours is- What do the dogs do if they don’t want to run…if they’re too old… if they’re too slow…if it’s time to retire? As dog lovers, we all want to make sure that our athlete’s every need is being met at every phase in their life. When they’re playful, exuberant puppies, we want to provide daily exercise, interaction, and socialization. When they’re high strung yearlings, we want to provide structured training, educational campouts, and fun, relaxed racing opportunities. When they’re muscled-up and motivated ultra-athletes in their prime, we want to provide exploration and adventure. When they’re older and calm with a higher appreciation for indoor comforts, we want to provide them with a slower pace and a couch. So for that reason, we live by the mantra- be the right home for each dog at the right time.

Some dogs follow the above timeline and have the natural ability as well as desire to become high-caliber ultra-athletes. Others may enjoy their yearling year then opt out of the intense, yet rewarding 1000-mile racing. Others may want to be a 1000-mile race dog, but they’re just not built for it. Some want a couch. Some want to run short distances. Some want to camp. Some thrive in a large group. Some prefer a more low-key atmosphere. Basically- they’re individuals. We simply try to be the right home for each dog at the right time. With that in mind, a few athletes from Ryno Kennel did join other teams or retire to a life of leisure!

Belle

Belle

Belle- Belle moved to Anchorage with our handler from the past two years, Tyler, and his girlfriend, Kelsey. She’s now living the high-life by going for walks and canicross runs in the mountains around Anchorage!

 

CJ- CJ joined our friend Lisa and her small team outside of Fairbanks. She now gets the best of both worlds with short runs plus lots of leisure time!

CJ

CJ

 

Dusky- Dusky joined our friend Joe and his team outside of Fairbanks! She’s turning into a leader, and you might notice from the photo- Drakey boy in swing behind her! Joe is focusing on mid-distance races and going on camping trips, which is perfect for both Drake and Dusky.

Dusky (and Drake in swing!)

Dusky (and Drake in swing!)

 

Mako- Mako, the powerhouse, joined Mary at Wild Root Kennel (www.wildrootkennel.com). He’s apparently become quite the excavator, so if anyone needs large holes dug in their property, Mako is the guy.

Mako

Mako

 

Niagra- Niagra was ready for the couch life, so she moved in with Julia. She’s now Julia’s couch potato and adventure buddy! And apparently has learned how to kayak!

Niagra

Niagra

 

Toad- Toad also joined Mary and her pack at Wild Root Kennel. With Mako and Toad, as well as the other pups Mary has added to her team, she’ll have a nice squad this winter! Check out her website (www.wildrootkennel.com). You might recognize some breedings. She has a Bailey x Zig pup (like Flash), a couple Supai x Izzy pups (siblings to Bert and Ernie), and some retired SP athletes!

Toad

Toad

 

Fenton- Fenton is here at Ryno Kennel, but he will be retiring to live with Tracy and Brian in Fairbanks. Tracy and Brian have a small team comprised of a few Ryno Kennel retirees- Brant, Chagga, and Teflon! Fenton still LOVES to run, but a 1000-mile race wouldn’t be the best option for his massive 65 lb frame. He’ll get to go on camping trips and adventures with Tracy and Brian’s little pack.

 

Cartel- Cartel is a little too smart for her own good and can be a bit of a brat for other people, so Cartel is retiring to my couch. She’s kind of a “one-person-dog,” which makes me feel special. That being said, she’ll completely ignore me if I’m asking her to do anything she doesn’t want to do.

Autumn

WOW- the autumn colors have been unreal this year. It’s normally a joke that fall lasts one week, and while that’s mostly true, the one week of fall this year has had blue skies and warmer than average temperatures. We’re still able to run teams in the mornings, but by 10:00 or 11:00, it’s toasty! We always wish it was a bit colder (until it’s -30 or -40F), but right now, we’re all rather enjoying this gorgeous season. The dogs get their exercise first thing in the morning when it’s cooler, then they bask, napping in the sun while humans work on finishing up projects before winter arrives for real.

SO MANY COLORS

Last night’s sunset

Fish helping sand lumber a few days ago.

Putting the solar panel post in concrete… with the adorable paws of Cartel, Kindi, Jezzy, and Sasha.

Otis and Uno

Smoky and Katy- the meeting of the minds

Smoky and Katy- the meeting of the minds

Boone and I ran in a 5K!

Kindi

Flash

Reindeer

Anyone who has been following along with our tour business, Last Frontier Mushing Co-op, has probably seen photos of our reindeer. I’ve had several folks ask me, why reindeer? And my normal response is- why not?! I’ve always dreamed of having a farm, and reindeer are the ultimate arctic farm animals. Their coats are exceptionally thick, so frigid -50F temperatures are no big deal. In the winter, the reindeer eat the snow for hydration, so a water trough isn’t necessary. They’re browsers, meaning that our fields of saplings are PERFECT habitats for them. Seeing as caribou and reindeer are just different subspecies, they’re essentially made for the Arctic. I love watching them eat and move. They’re curious and agile. Long story short- who wouldn’t want a couple reindeer?

In our pursuit to begin a reindeer farm, we (Last Frontier Mushing Co-op) purchased three reindeer last fall- Ronin, Chisto, and Olive. A bull and two cows, these are to be the foundation of our new herd. They were all about one and half years old and had lived most of their life in the company of other reindeer, not humans. Ronin, with his bullish confidence, has learned to tolerate us, but Chisto and and Olive are a little more timid. Because we hope to incorporate reindeer as an educational and interactive component in our tours, we decided to not overly stress Ronin, Chisto, and Olive and instead focus on socializing their future offspring. Unfortunately, Mother Nature decided our herd wasn’t ready to produce calves, so we decided to acquire two new bull calves with whom to begin training. And guess what- they arrived yesterday! These two boys are already quickly warming up to their new human and canine herdmates. As I type this blog post, I’m sitting in their pen, watching them nap, snore, and burp. Such cuties.

Napping Boys

Dog Runs and School Portraits

Temperatures have been getting cooler and the pups are feeling SPUNKY!

We’ve been regularly taking out 10-dog teams for a short two miles to stretch their legs and get them warmed up before we start fall training. Even though they’ve hardly gotten their heart rate up by the time we return to the yard, these shorter distances are perfect for newbies like Scarpa, Petzl, Bert, and Ernie. All four of the yearlings have been rocking it!

I took a short video of a training run this morning. The team comprised of Lefty and Crunch leading followed by Faff and Yoshi, Smoky and Bowser, Thresher and Scarpa, Petzl and Mario, Otis and Bull. Lots of youth and lots of enthusiasm!

Yesterday, Scott Chesney with Tailspin Media came out to the kennel for our yearly school portraits. This is Scott’s FIFTH year of doing portraits! Thank you Scott! Some of the dogs are photogenic and require little distractions. Others require just a squeaky toy. And others require squeaky toy, weird animal sounds on the phone, and exaggerated flapping movements by the entertainment staff (aka me).

Derek, Bowser, Saeward, and Scott behind the camera.

Bert loved have Scott visit!

Amelia and Ernie

Jana and Bowser

Jana and Bowser

Cooke and Ewok

Cooke and Ewok