Nikki DeLoach: “Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being”

Best known for her portrayal of Lacey Hamilton on the hit and critically-acclaimed series Awkward, Nikki DeLoach, an American actress has since become one of Hallmark’s leading ladies.

DeLoach starred as the lead in the feel-good movie, Two Turtle Doves, alongside Michael Rady. The most recent movie she starred in for the network was Cranberry Christmas in 2020.

DeLoach is a passionate advocate for women’s empowerment. She co-founded What We Are, a blog community that aims to unite women and give them a platform to share common experiences on issues they are facing today.

She is also a strong proponent of education and shares her knowledge with fellow actors as a teacher at the acclaimed Warner Loughlin Studios.

We got the chance to talk to Nikki about her career, dog and passions.

Nikki DeLoach: "Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being"

Tell us all about all the dogs you've loved in your life. (this is your chance to tell us everything about your dogs, past or present. Names, ages, breeds - we want to know everything!)

I grew up in the South, spending lots of time on a farm. Animals were always a big part of my life, especially dogs. My papa always had a lot of dogs. We had Georgia, a Golden Retriever.

My dad had a dog named Choco, who was a gorgeous Chocolate Lab. He was the love of my dad’s life. After Champ passed away, my dad’s heart was so broken that we didn’t have another dog for a handful of years.

That’s when I got Allie, the sweetest Pomeranian ever. My sister wanted her own Pom and got Roxy. And my brother got Champ, a Rat Terrier, who my dad quickly took under his wing.

Champ became my dad’s best friend. He went with him everywhere. At one point, we had all three of these littles running around the house. Now, we have Windsor. He is a white British lab.

He has eaten everything in our house - bar stools, the kitchen table, baseboards, toys, shoes, socks, utensils, the couch, the list goes on.

Windsor came into our life when I was pregnant with my second child. Bennett ended up having three heart surgeries and was very sick his first couple of years of life.

Windsor was so protective of him. Any time Bennett was about to get a fever, I would know it because Windsor would become very clingy with him, very protective. He is so gentle with both of my boys.

Nikki DeLoach: "Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being"

You're obviously a huge dog lover. How long have dogs been a major part of your life and how would you explain the importance of dogs to someone who hadn't ever experienced the joy of a canine/human relationship in their life?

Most importantly, dogs give you unconditional love, which is something most of us don’t get to experience with humans. It’s so special and precious.

They also literally make you a more healthy human being - mentally, emotionally and physically. Humans with dogs recover from illness more quickly, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help protect children from skin conditions and allergies.

They help develop empathy, soften depression and help with stress. They bring so much joy into your life.

What are your favourite things to do with your dog(s)?

Of course, I love to snuggle and take walks with Windsor. However, we have spent so much of 2020 on the road.

I had two movies to do in Canada. We packed up the whole family, including Windsor and drove there. We spent 2.5 months in Vancouver and Winnipeg.

Then we spent two weeks in Minnesota with my husband’s mom. We’ve gone camping. It has been such a joy to travel and have these great adventures with Windsor.

Nikki DeLoach: "Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being"

You have a really interesting career... What advice would you give to the many people who wanted to follow your path in career terms? What are the absolute best (and worst) things about your work?

My biggest piece of advice would be to not put all of your happiness and self-worth into your acting career because you will never be happy and self-worth should never be dependent on external forces. Diversify.

Allow yourself to explore a handful of things that bring you joy and happiness. Figure out how to make money in other ways besides just acting.

Only 5% of actors make enough money to support themselves without having to have a second job. Nothing in my life turned out like I had planned or even dreamed.

I worked so incredibly hard to make certain dreams come true and they still didn’t happen. And instead of being angry or harbouring resentment (which I did for a while), I came to the understanding that those dreams weren’t for me or the timing just wasn’t right.

I now move through my life and career very differently. I stay open, dancing with what life brings to me and what my heart is calling forth.

I listen to my knowing and take action steps toward that, staying very open to what happens. And what I know to be true is that I love my life.

Nikki DeLoach: "Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being"

Here are our quick-fire questions, are you ready?

Which do you prefer and why?

Big dogs or little dogs?

I cannot possibly pick.

Calm, relaxed dogs or dogs who live at 100mph?

Calm and relaxed dogs.

Dogs who do as they're asked most of the time or dogs who do pretty much whatever they like whenever they like?

Dogs who do what they are asked.

Dogs who love to walk by your side or dogs who like to race off and cover ten thousand yards in 3 seconds?

Dogs who love to walk by my side.

Days off or days at work?

As much as I love my job (and I REALLY love it), my kids are the loves of my life and I will always choose them.

The fastest route or the scenic route?


Nikki DeLoach: "Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being"

Nighttime or early morning?

I prefer mornings. I love waking up to a new day. I love coffee. I love breakfast. I love how happy my kids are in the morning.

Describe the last time you laughed out loud because of something you saw a dog do?

Last night, crawled into bed and Windsor very carefully snuck into his bed. He usually waits for Ryan (my husband) to go to bed before he crawls into his doggie bed.

But last night, my husband was up late working. Windsor likes going to bed early but didn’t want to “abandon” Ryan (he is obsessed with my husband and never leaves his side) who was in the other room. I watched him sneak away and make his way into the doggie bed.

When Ryan walked in later, Windsor jumped up and tried to act as if he wasn’t sleeping. The whole thing was so funny to me.

What do you like to do in your downtime?

There is no downtime.

Let us in on a secret that very few people know about you?

I like to eat dinner in the bathtub while watching TV.

Nikki DeLoach: "Dogs Make You A More Healthy Human Being"

What are you currently working on that our readers need to know about?

I am very excited to be starring in two movies for Hallmark, Sweet Autumn and Cranberry Christmas, which are airing now on the Hallmark Channel and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries respectively.

I also co-founded an online community called Welcome To What We Are, which aims to give women a safe space to share their common experiences.

Even though acting, writing and producing keep me busy, I love to spend time supporting causes that are important to me.

I am a spokesperson for The Alzheimer’s Association in honour of my dad who is battling a rare form of dementia called Pick’s Disease.

I also serve on the Foundation Board of Trustees at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. It means the world to me that I have the opportunity to give back to the place that saved my son’s life after he was born with heart defects.

Thanks, Nikki!

All photography (c) Nikki DeLoach.


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