Someone You Should Know: Writing about an interesting life

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 4:47 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Out in the country near Canton, Tom Gunlicks works with dogs. He’s a dog behaviorist.

“I’d rather be with dogs than most people. In my program, I don’t believe in shock collars. They work for the wrong reason, and they usually create more issues. I don’t believe in choke chains. I don’t believe in hitting dogs; I don’t believe in yelling at dogs,” said Tom.

Tom has been doing this for two decades at the Precious Pets Country Resort, which he and his wife started.

“5,550 plus dogs later, we haven’t helped all of them 100 percent, but we have a 97 percent success ratio with it,” said Tom.

It’s a different life than the one the Nebraska native — who came to Sioux Falls on a basketball scholarship to Augustana — used to live.

“I was in the bar business for thirteen years, at several different places. I started at Nite City, went from there to Gunners, and then I opened the best place — for me, anyway — After Five downtown,” said Tom.

In 1996, Tom wrote a book called “Echoes After Dark.” He recently rewrote the book and added five chapters about his life. But it was his time in the bar business that he felt he needed to write about, for therapy.

“I went through a lot. I got kidnapped at gunpoint one time. Everything that I went through with both clients and the business end of it was difficult. I knew I had to get out of it at the end,” said Tom.

There were also a lot of good times and good friends. He doesn’t reference any of them by their real name in the book.

“I’ve had over 3,800 people work for me in all the things I’ve done. And a lot of them are still very good friends. And then the customers. I’ve met lifetime friends that started off as customers. The hardest thing of writing this book for me was all the people that passed away,” said Tom.

He was known as Gunner then. Now 70, he goes by Tom. And he wouldn’t go back, preferring a quieter life with his furry friends.

“I’m going to continue doing my dog behavior. I’ll never stop doing that. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done in my life, in any of the careers I’ve had,” said Tom.

Tom’s book is available through Amazon. You can also buy it at Zandbroz in downtown Sioux Falls.