Nikki Miller

My journey as both an animal lover and ethical treatment advocate has been one of lifelong passion, commitment, & growth. Even as a child I can remember cultivating my strong connection to animals by gravitating towards household pets & providing aid to stray dogs in my neighborhood. Additionally, my mother as well as many of my close family friends are a part of the blind community, & I would also be exposed to the service animal industry in my early youth as a result – growing up, my family & I went to a lot of charity events for the blind.

During the 2013 annual Vision walk I was introduced to someone who trained service dogs professionally & instantly knew that’s what I wanted my career to be. My personal road to professional dog training would not come without trial and tribulation unfortunately; I became involved in a lifestyle that was not propelling my ambitions forward & one that did involve drug use for several years – I was actually still in active addiction when I found out about APC in 2021. Applying for their dog training program did not initially feel within my reach as I did not have the proper resources; primarily a dog that was fit for their program. As everything happens for a reason, an old friend contacted me about a dog he could no longer take care of, asking if I knew of anyone who could take her. I decided to meet Harley right away & immediately fell in love; she was around 1, had zero training and had been abused in the past. She connected with me quickly and I started taking her home for weekend visits. I knew from the beginning it was going to be a long journey to gain her trust fully and help her get over her traumatic past but I was ready for it.

During my time initially meeting Harley I did apply for the APC program & was accepted, however shortly before my classes were set to begin I realized that not only was I killing myself through addiction but I also couldn’t take care of her in active addiction. It was then, in May 2022, that I decided to go to rehab because of her and stayed for 60 days.

Our training officially began the following July; I started training her on my own and gaining her trust. We started school in October 2022 with Harley and watched her turn into a happy healthy trained dog while she gave me a reason to stay sober. The transformation I saw in her was amazing and ensured me that dog training is what I am meant to do. Upon graduation from the APC program I accepted a position with Petropolis, however after gaining valuable experience through this establishment I was able to move on & accept a training position at DFOB because I know first hand how a dog can change someone’s life and give them a second chance. My dog changed my life. I can honestly say I would not be here today if it weren’t for her, she gave me strength and purpose when I had none. I connected with the mission and values of DFOB on a personal level because they rescue each dog giving them a second chance on life, like I did with Harley.


Our Partners

We’d like to extend a big thank you to our corporate and media partners for your generous support. Your help gives us the opportunity to do what we do, and give both service members and our rescued dogs a chance at a better life.