You might have noticed a few missing portraits this year, so I'd like to take this post to talk about our "retired" athletes. I'll introduce you to the retirees who live at Ryno Kennel as well as talk about where our athletes go when they retire. Ultimately, it's always my responsibility to make sure I can give each dog the most rewarding and fulfilling life for them as an individual, whether that's here at Ryno Kennel or in a different home.
We all know Alaskan Huskies are exceptional athletes. With exercise and good nutrition, they can live a long and happy life, sometimes as long as 16 or 17 years! However, just like people, their goals and desires change throughout their long lives. Every Alaskan Husky is born with a desire to run and pull, the question is how far? Do they want to pull and explore for 10 miles? 100 miles? 300 miles? 1,000 miles? Until they're 2 years old? 7 years old? 16 years old?
It's always hard when I realize that I might not be the best home for a dog, but ultimately it's about them. Because of that, if a dog isn't fitting in at their new home, their new family knows they can always bring them back to Ryno Kennel. Every time a new puppy is born at Ryno Kennel, I'm making a commitment for life, wherever their best life may be.
To quote Aliy's philosophy, we always strive to have “the right home for the right dog at the right time." It's all about the dogs!
Retirees at Ryno Kennel
Some athletes, like Crazy, can't imagine a day when they're not pulling in some capacity. Even though she's 12-years-old, Crazy still runs short distances, trains puppies, and competed in the canicross event last weekend. Although Crazy has never raced with Ryno Kennel, she competed with several other successful teams and absolutely deserves a comfortable retirement. Plus, she's a fantastic nanny and enjoys caring for the singleton pups like Amelia then Cooke and currently Terrell.
Frosty joined Ryno Kennel from Smokin' Ace Kennels (Matt Hall and Amanda Brooks) a couple years ago. He no longer had the desire to race, but he wanted to go back to his roots running a trapline and breaking trail. Don't ask Frosty to run much more than 15 miles, but if it's shorter distances through remote terrain, he's in heaven! Frosty helps train the yearlings when he's not out on the trapline with Derek.
Well, we all know Stormy! After running a few Iditarods with SP Kennel (including my rookie Iditarod in 2012), Stormy retired to a couch at 7-years-old. She has ZERO desire to pull anymore and prefers to sleep under the fire place or next to the toyo stove. Even though she doesn't like to pull, Stormy still loves to go on puppy walks and is an exceptional puppy wrangler.
Retired to New Homes
This past spring, we had three dogs join new homes: Fez, Brant, and Chagga.
Fez joined Sally and Eider with the Bagamary family just outside of Fairbanks. Fez still has the desire to run (and she wishes she could run 1000-miles), but after her porcupine encounter a couple summers ago, her wrist prevents her from running 1000-mile races. Since Fez wasn't ready for retirement, she still gets to run and compete with the Bagamarys. They compete in 50-300 mile races as well as kids races! As you can see from the photos, Sally and Eider are enjoying their new life with the Bagamarys as well.
Chagga, Brant and Teflon
Chagga, Brant, and Teflon all joined the Sehmels to enjoy a life of active retirement. Chagga has always preferred more quiet settings, so a close knit atmosphere with only a few other dogs is a perfect fit for her. Even though Brant has completed both the Quest 300 and Copper Basin 300, he was ready to enjoy more leisurely runs. Like Chagga, Teflon has really flourished in a smaller, quieter setting. The Sehmels now have a four dog team allowing Chagga, Brant, and Teflon to still get to mush!
Earl- a previous retiree
Earl, oh Earl... he could have been a powerhouse! Earl never was much of a sled dog, but he is now one fantastic companion. Maliko, Earl, and Lahja now have lots of adventures, and Earl even professionally models bow ties!
Amy- a previous retiree
Amy knew the sled dog life was never for her, so she retired young and has been enjoying her life of luxury with the Millers in Phoenix, Arizona. When she's not at work with Joan, she's basking on the couch without a care in the world.
Derby- a previous retiree
Derby retired a couple years ago with our neighbors across the street. Though Derby wanted to continue racing, her build effected her ability to run long distances. Now she gets to go on adventurous trips across Alaska including the Brooks Range and White Mountains!