About Us

Our Snow Angel home

Welcome to Snow Angel Retrievers. Let me introduce ourselves to you. We are Todd, Gina, and Taylor Lykins and we are living our dream life just north of Mahomet in Central Illinois. We have 12 spacious acres for our ‘Snow Angels’ to romp on. There is much stimulation for our dogs, as there are always deer, rabbits, and geese stopping by daily to visit. We feel fortunate to be able to share our home with these incredible furry family members. 

Our primary occupation is that of running our two family friendly veterinary clinics, The Pet Pro, in Champaign and Mahomet, Illinois. Dr. Lykins received his DVM from the University of Illinois in 1983. Gina Lykins , a registered nurse by profession, joined the Pet Pro in 1998. We see many breeds of dogs at our busy clinics.  And, while many are good breeds, we fell in love with the golden retriever years ago. We even have a Golden as part of our veterinary clinic logo. Our first two golden retrievers in our marriage, Sage and Tasha, were both American Golden’s. Sage was from a backyard breeder, while Tasha was from a Golden Rescue group.  While they were as sweet as can be, both also developed numerous chronic medical problems during the course of their lives.  Had Todd not been a veterinarian, the medical care would have been cost prohibitive. 

Gina’s brother first introduced us to the European Cream Golden Retriever in 2004 when he came home for the holidays with his new puppy ‘Austin’. Austin’s temperament was that of a retriever in that he was intelligent, friendly, as well as obedient. We found that his overall demeanor was mellower than that of the American Golden. In doing research, the most notable difference between the two (American versus English) was the cancer rate.  Purdue University conducted the National Breed Health Survey and found that 61% of American Golden Retrievers die from cancer (namely, hemangiosarcoma, lymphoma, mast cell tumor and osteosarcoma). Alternatively, the English Cream Golden Retriever has a much lower cancer rate at 30%.  This convinced us that this gorgeous white dog was perfect to promote as our recommended family dog. Over the next years, Gina used her experience as a genetic nurse to find 5 of these sweethearts with different bloodlines from one another.  This involved searching Europe and resulted in importing puppies from 5 different countries.

Our goal is to genetically design the most beautiful, healthy, family friendly dog possible, who is raised in a loving home environment. Puppies raised in a kennel situation, in a basement, a garage or solely outdoors does not prepare them for integration in to the family setting. It is important that they experience the sounds of a home, have frequent human contact and even car rides before they come to you. We love having them in our home to give them these important experience and wouldnt want it any other way.  And, while we do believe in crate training for the puppy once they become your new furry family member, you will not find any crates in our home. The first 8 weeks of life are different than those of the rest of a dogs life.  Here, it is important that the puppies have interaction with their mother and with their litter mates. One cant have that when separated from one another with the use of crates. We even have three nannies here to assist us for 8 weeks when little ones are born, to ensure plenty of human / puppy interaction and a clean environment. Miss Kelsey, Miss Ashley and Miss Bailey also work as staff at The Pet Pro when the nursery is empty. This is a perfect set up for puppies and people alike!

And, YES, we miss the puppies when they leave…But the following photo best depicts why we do what we do. I have entitled it ‘Love At First Sight’. We are fortunate to be able to witness that instant bond that somehow magically occurs when one first lays eyes on their new puppy. This pics says it so very well. Thanks Sarah for sharing it with us!