Naples Bay Colony Residents John and Kristin Miller Help Future Service Dogs

puppy with vest

Making Canine Companions Mission Possible  

Residents in Naples, Florida are generous donors and not just during certain times of the year – but year-round. According to studies, people who live in Naples give back the most of any county in Florida.

Hundreds of people with disabilities have benefitted from this incredible kindness and it has allowed Canine Companions to continue to empower people with disabilities to live a life filled with greater independence.

“John and Kristin Miller of Naples have been true leaders for Canine Companions for decades and we are very grateful for their visionary leadership and generosity,” said Canine Companions CEO Paige Mazzoni.

John was first introduced to Canine Companions by Jean Schulz in 1998. Jean’s husband, famed cartoonist Charles Schulz, was a passionate supporter of Canine Companions and Jean has been a member of the Canine Companions national board of directors for many years. 

As John and Kristin learned more about the work of Canine Companions, they wanted to do more and jumped wholeheartedly into the mission. John served on the Northeast Region Board of Directors and the campus is named in their honor. John is also a member of the national board of directors and board chair emeritus.

Raising more than $1 million

Since 2017, John and Kristin have hosted events in Naples introducing Canine Companions to their friends and even coordinated “stay at home” gatherings in 2020 and 2021 when the uncertainty of the pandemic kept us at home.

The 2022 event was a huge success and raised more than $400,000. In total these events have raised more than $1 million, enabling Canine Companions to provide expertly trained dogs and services, completely free of charge, to adults, children and veterans with disabilities.

It All Starts with a Puppy

Our volunteer puppy raisers take an adorable 8-week-old puppy into their home. For approximately 16 months they provide a loving base where the puppy can learn good house manners and about thirty commands.

Ever wonder how Canine Companions dogs get their names? Many puppies are named by generous sponsors who put their heart and soul into coming up with a name that has very personal or special meaning.

Meet Negri

Smart, sweet, and spirited, Negri shares his big personality with everyone he meets. Soon he will be a life-changer. Negri was named by John and Kristin in honor of their dear friend Peter Negri. Peter passed away in 2021 and was known as a man with great integrity who had a strong moral compass. Those around him regularly experienced his generosity and it is an honor to have a dog named in his memory.

Meet Harry

Harry has yet to be born but was named by Jay & Elaine Moorin in memory of Harry Debes. Harry touched the lives of so many people and is remembered as a generous man who stayed true to himself. We are sure Harry will be lively and affectionate and will love to explore – just like his namesake.

One Team. Two Heroes

Canine Companions takes incredible pride in its Veterans Initiative. The men and women who have served and sacrificed in our military often come back with injuries, some visible, others not. Expertly trained in 45 commands, Canine Companions service dogs help veterans with disabilities, including hearing loss, traumatic brain injury, limb loss and post-traumatic stress disorder. The Canine Companions Veterans Initiative has placed over 400 veterans with service dogs. 

Jack & Debera Millstein decided to be a hero for our heroes. Their donation to name a puppy in honor of a family member who served our country, provided veterans with the help and companionship that only a dog can give. They invested in our mission that not only changes lives – but saves lives.  

Together We Lead

Canine Companions is leading the way, so more people with disabilities with their service dogs can live their lives to the fullest.  Currently, there are more than 2,700 active graduate teams across the country, and 226 active graduate teams just in Florida.  With six training centers across the country, 45 volunteer chapters and a presence in every state, Canine Companions is the largest and most highly acclaimed service dog organization in the United States.

Donors like John and Kristin and their circle of friends are constant champions for our mission. They have made life brighter and have opened up doors of opportunity for the people who need our dogs. Their generosity will help us continue to create life changing human-canine matches for years to come.