Dr. Nikki Brown, Executive Director
Nikki has been training dogs for over 15 years. She owned and operated Premier K-9, a dog training school in Grand Ledge, MI from 2003 to 2012. She holds two master’s degrees from Michigan State University in Counseling and School Psychology and has completed her PhD with an emphasis on behavior modification. Her education and years of experience training pet dogs as well as training and breeding police dogs makes her an expert in the field. Nikki has titled many dogs to high levels in various sports such as agility, UKC obedience, K9 Pro Sports, and Protection Sports Association. She has also competed in Schutzhund. Nikki has also earned several Canine Good Citizen and Therapy Dogs International titles.
Auncia McCullough, Training Coordinator
Auncia is currently attending Lansing Community College and plans on transferring to Michigan State University to obtain her degree in veterinary medicine. She began as a volunteer puppy raiser with Canines for Change and later became an intermediate and task trainer before becoming the training coordinator in 2020. She has always taken pride in caring for animals and helping people since she was young. Auncia and her family have rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed many stray animals. She has dedicated a lot of her time to volunteering with various organizations such as Guiding With Purpose (a non-profit organization dedicated to give back to the community), Potter Park Zoo, the local food pantry, and assisting with revamping visiting rooms for foster children at the State of Michigan DHS.
Mary McCort, Trainer
Mary started training dogs at 14 years old, and by 16 years old she was helping Pat Thomas train obedience dogs. She has worked at a breeding kennel for several years cleaning kennels, socializing, helping with breeding, and helping the puppies. She also worked at a veterinarian office grooming, cleaning kennels and assisting the doctor when needed for eight years. She has been grooming dogs for 34 years and has trained every animal she owned (even a couple of cats). Mary has been with Canines for Change in any capacity that was needed since 2014.
Sarah started with Canines For Change in 2014 as a puppy raiser, but quickly began teaching obedience classes, presenting at schools and events to educate others on service dogs, task training, and now re-certifies our returning clients. Sarah is a certified animal cruelty investigator through Code 3 Associates and Colorado State University and currently works as an Investigator for the Michigan Humane Society. She enjoys learning and continuing her education in animal law enforcement as well as dog training. At home she has three dogs of her own: Reo, Vaughn, and Ayla. Sarah’s favorite part of volunteering with Canines for Change is having the opportunity to meet the clients and see the difference each dog makes in the life of their new family.
Gery Rehmann, Trainer
Gery has been assisting Canines for Change in training canine heroes since 2018. Since Gery retired, he searched for an organization that would be both challenging and rewarding. He realized Canines for Change would be a good match. He has had several dogs of his own over the years which helped him understand what was needed in the training process. In addition, he has 35 years of teaching experience with early elementary children and special needs students which he says helps him in this area. Working with this population of students requires an incredible amount of patience and understanding, and these traits transfer over to the training process. The most rewarding and memorable experience Gery states is traveling to Pittsburgh to work with the clients that are receiving these highly trained service dogs. During the visit to Pennsylvania, the dog and handler bond and learn to become a team. What keeps him engaged with this organization is witnessing the remarkable benefits of all the hard work both trainers and canines put forth. Canines for Change strives to make miracles happen daily, and Gery wants to be part of it.
Dani Appicelli, Trainer
Tony Appicelli, Trainer