News Culture

Auto Journalists Unite to Rescue 12 Dogs Just in Time for the Holidays

Operation Frodo 2023 is delivering a dozen beagles to their forever homes.
Operation Frodo

Automotive journalist and TV personality Nik Miles owns several dogs, and when he’s not on the road reviewing new vehicles for various TV and radio shows, he’s helping rescue other canines in need. Miles launched Operation Frodo in 2022, transporting four beagles in need from Omaha, Nebraska to Portland, Oregon to be delivered to their forever homes.

Miles is quadrupling the mission in 2023, pledging to find loving families for 12 puppies and adult dogs. Dozens of colleagues across the automotive industry and fellow animal lovers have volunteered to pitch in, with journalists splitting the 1,650-mile journey into four legs: Omaha to Colorado Springs, Colorado Springs to Salt Lake City, Salt Lake City to Boise, and Boise to Portland.

Lord of the Rings fans know that Frodo was a brave orphan on a quest. Miles and his group of animal rescuers are finding ways to help orphaned dogs find a home.

Nik Miles. Operation Frodo

Why Omaha?

According to Miles, there are abundant beagles and hounds in Nebraska and surrounding states because hunting is popular in the area. However, he explained that aging beagles are often left in the woods to die once they are no longer good hunters.

One of the beagles Miles rescued for his own family was found in a dumpster with several others, still alive but needing help and love. Whoever had dumped them there had chopped off the dogs’ ears, something that’s usually done to remove evidence of the tattoos typically imprinted on the dogs to show ownership.  

While these kinds of stories are maddening to Miles, he says complaining isn’t going to accomplish anything. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), 6.3 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year, and nearly a million are euthanized. The thought of that is more than Miles can stand.

“We’re trying to find solutions,” he told The Drive. “We have to do better as human beings.”

Operation Frodo

The (Good) Oregon Trail

Traveling with puppies is no easy task. Dogs have biological needs—as do humans—on a long road trip, so the drivers have to navigate bathroom stops and meals without leaving the pups alone. Each day is structured for seven to 10 hours of driving, with a backup on standby in case someone falls ill.

On the Omaha side, Operation Frodo partners with Bassett and Beagle Rescue of the Heartlands, and they’re delivered to Cascade Beagle Rescue in Portland.

“Our beagle rescues are so grateful to Animal Rescue Rigs and the automotive journalists who spend their vacation to help our breed in such an impactful way,” said the Portland rescue group. “They give these dogs, and the ones who will fill their places in the foster homes in the Midwest, the best Christmas gift: a chance for a home for the holidays.”

The command vehicle is a 2024 Ford Expedition kindly provided by the Blue Oval, caravaning with other vehicles also provided by Subaru, Hyundai, and Nissan.

Operation Frodo

Nissan was an early partner in Miles’ quest to save dogs from bad situations, like natural disasters, euthanization, puppy mills, and laboratory testing facilities. The automaker donated a 2018 Nissan Titan XD Pro-X to Miles’ 501(c) organization Animal Rescue Rigs, and Miles worked with other vendors like Brembo brakes and Hard Notched Customs to kit out the vehicle. It debuted at the 2018 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) tradeshow and Miles lent it to organizations needing help transporting pets.

Operation Frodo received donations to cover travel costs from Hyundai, Subaru, and fleet management company DriveShop. Other donations are coming in through Animal Rescue Rigs, and the leftover money will be used to pursue the next vehicle.

“We just hope people will put a couple of bucks in the kitty to rescue a few dogs,” said participating journalist Harvey Briggs. “It’s really cool that we get to take these dogs and help them find their forever home. Doing it around Christmas time feels like the right thing to do.”