For the first year of his life, all Tank knew of the world was limited to what he could see from the end of his chain. He was tethered to a dog house in Gary, Indiana. In November 2011, the home caught fire.
The next day, a neighbor woman who fed the stray and feral cats, and Tank, when his owners didn’t, came to feed the animals. But Tank was gone. His chain had been severed by an axe-wielding fireman who worried that he might perish in the blaze.
Later that morning, Tank suddenly appeared. He suffered a few burns on his legs and head.
“He came running up, tail wagging,” said Ann Llamas, volunteer for Castaway Critters, the rescue group that saved Tank. “But he had to be in pain.”
He spent the next six weeks recuperating at the Westchester Animal Clinic. Ann then went on to foster him for the next two months of his recovery.
The Bobele family saw his picture and knew he belonged with them.
“We felt sorry for him,” said father Mickey Bobele. “We just had to give him a good home.”
In April 2012, Tank became the newest member of the family. He has two fur siblings – a beagle named Lola and a yellow Lab called Joey. Despite his shaky beginnings, Tank is the most mellow of the three, so he gets to enjoy frequent camping and kayaking outings.
“Lola is shy around other people and Joey doesn’t like other dogs,” said 12-year-old Abbie. “So we just take Tank.”
Abbie has been training Tank to compete in the 4-H Dog Project at the Porter County Fair. He has been learning obedience, agility and showmanship.
“He’s really easy to train,” said Abbie. “It makes me feel really good because I get to spend time with my dog and makes me enjoy dogs even more.”
Abbie considers Tank to be her best friend, and the feeling is mutual.
“He doesn’t like to leave my side. If I’m in the bathroom he’ll wait by the door until I come out. When he hears the (school) bus coming, my dad said he jumps to the window,” said Abbie. “One morning I was laying on the couch and fell asleep, and when I woke up, his nose was touching my nose. It was adorable.”
She says that although his obedience skills are better, he can still “tear up the garage” if left alone. But Tank works hard, and she likes to keep him “spoiled rotten.”
“I just think how lucky he is now,” said Abbie. “From being chained to a leash in an alley to now is just crazy.”