Tikka. Foto- Spīgana Spektore

Tikka is a 3 and a half year old chocolate coloured working line Labrador. About a year ago, she completed her guide dog training under the tutelage of Zaiga. Tikka is a very sociable, happy and sporting Labrador bitch. Like any good Labrador, more than anything else, she loves splashing about in water. When her master Aleksejs is preparing for his rowing training, Tikka prances about “on two legs”, such is her eagerness to join him in the water. Tikka’s favourite playmates are Aleksejs’ daughter Polina and Thai breed cat Klopa. When the three of them meet up, it’s almost impossible to separate them. As with all Labradors, Tikka has an excellent appetite and loves eating meat and vegetables, as well as cottage cheese with kefir.

Tikka’s young master is Aleksejs Korsaks from Daugavpils. He’s 35 years old. Aleksejs became completely blind at the age of 32. However, this has proved to be no obstacle to his maintaining an active lifestyle. He has continued actively rowing, which is a sport in which he has won a number of honours and titles. For example, in 2013 Aleksejs finished third in the visually-impaired group in the 1,000 metre distance at the World Indoor Para-Rowing Championships in Boston, USA. In total, Aleksejs has spent a decade doing athletics, swimming and rowing. However, it is also worth mentioning that this year he took part in the Lattelecom Riga Marathon together with Tikka, where they competed in the 5 km race.  Aleksejs and Tikka took part in the Lattelecom Marathon event, because he wanted to support and promote the work of the TEODORS service dog association and to inspire other visually-impaired people to be more active, because life doesn’t end when you lose your sight. This was the first 5 km marathon race that Aleksejs and Tikka had run together. In addition to his regular sports training, Aleksejs has a job. Together with another visually-impaired guy, they have founded a massage salon in Daugavpils. Aleksejs has studied in this field at the LU Riga College of Medicine. Aleksejs is clearly an enterprising young man with a positive attitude towards life.  (foto)

tikkaHis Labrador girl Tikka is a wonderful assistant to him throughout the course of his daily life. She doesn’t merely help him move forwards; as Aleksejs says lovingly, “She’s more than just a guide dog, she’s a faithful friend.” Tikka was placed under Aleksejs’ care about a year ago after an event aimed at promoting and supporting the service dog movement was organised for visitors to the Daugavpils branch of the Latvian Library for the Blind. One can tell that they have established a close friendship and liking for one another. They are highly compatible, because both are active and like outdoor pursuits instead of sitting at home. According to Aleksejs, Tikka has completely changed his life. He is extremely grateful to both the dog and his trainer Zaiga. Thanks to Tikka, Aleksejs now feels more independent and enjoys a greater sense of freedom. Wherever the twists and turns of daily life taken them, they go together. Aleksejs no longer needs to ask his friends for help. Tikka is at Aleksejs’ side at work, rest and play. The only time they are parted from one another is while Aleksejs is away taking part in competitions overseas. Then Tikka stays at home and faithfully awaits the return of her master. We can only imagine their joy when they meet up again!

Baiba Baikovska, May 2015