My name is Robin Lickteig. My husband Dave and I live south of Des Moines on a couple acres of puppy paradise. I want to share a little about the black lab puppy I am raising and training for Puppy Jake Foundation. My new puppy’s name is Tank. His given name is Nick, after my Grandfather, Harold Nichols. My Grandpa fought in WWII and I wanted to name my brave new little puppy after a military veteran. I then nicknamed him Tank after seeing what a strong and sturdy pup he was.
The standards for the dogs accepted into the PJF program are very high. I went to Clinton, IA with trainer, Renee Jetter to the breeder Victoria Walker, where Renee temperament tested each dog that we were considering. We brought all three black lab puppies home that she tested that day. They all passed with flying colors. Tank’s training began immediately. He has to work for his food so twice a day we train. He quickly responded to the clicker training method that we use for all our dogs in the organization. It is a training method that uses only positive reinforcement. He is so smart and so eager to please that he easily performs the tasks asked of him.
Tank is not the first service dog I have trained. I raised and trained a yellow lab named Dee. She was placed with her recipient in March 2013. She lives with him in Maquoketa, IA. It was extremely hard to see her go. I didn’t think I could raise and train another service dog until I saw what a difference Dee made in her new recipient’s life. So when Becky approached me about raising and training another dog, I accepted. Raising and training a service dog is much different than training a dog to be a pet. Tank goes everywhere with me. Restaurants, grocery stores, meetings, Dr. Appointments...........well, you get the idea. Legally there is nowhere that a service dog cannot go except churches, and most are very accommodating once prior approval has been given.
Time flies. I started writing this when I first got Tank and he was 10 weeks old. He is now over a year old. He has matured into an amazing companion. He will be placed in his forever home with his very deserving recipient in only a few months. This is bittersweet for me. I will miss him terribly but he will go on to live a very productive life with someone who needs him. I have two other dogs at home. One is older than Tank and the other one younger. At home he is just another member of the family. He has to mind his manners and play appropriately. He is happy to accommodate me in exchange for the endless amount of love given to him in return.
I am excited to see where Tank’s life will lead. I believe he will continue to learn and do great things for someone.
Puppy Raiser for TANK