Like her brothers, Buck and Nino, Zoie’s story began a little closer to home, as she also came from the animal shelter in Chipley, Florida. When Nikki saw Zoie’s photo posted on the shelter’s Facebook page in July 2011, she knew she had to adopt her, as there was simply something about her sweet, endearing face. Plus, Nikki couldn‘t stand the thought of Zoie being all alone at the shelter at just three months old.

“Zoie” means life, and Zoie definitely lives up to her name. As the most spirited dog in the pack, Zoie is a joyful, loving soul who lights up the room. She’s also the fastest dog of the pack, who keeps not only Nikki on her toes, but the rest of the pack as well.

Zoie is the smallest dog of Nikki’s extended doggie family, but that doesn’t stop her. Zoie seems to have what Nikki calls “size distortion disorder,” which makes her think she’s the biggest dog in the pack despite the fact some of her brothers and sisters are twice her weight. Nevertheless, Zoie still likes to act like a baby sometimes, lying in Nikki’s arms and looking up at her with her soulful eyes. One of her favorite things to do is to lick her big brother, Picasso, relentlessly in the face; Picasso takes her “annoying” habit in stride. Like all of her dogs, Nikki feels blessed to have little Zoie as part of my heart and home and can’t imagine a day without her lively spirit filling the room.

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Zaida’s journey began on the other side of the globe in Didim, Turkey, the same place where Tanzi was found being abused as a young puppy. Discovered chained inside a hole as a young puppy, Zaida lived a life devoid of hope, love, and affection as she was being trained for dog fighting. Thankfully, a rescue woman learned of Zaida’s plight and moved her to the same rescue where Tanzi, Mattie, Maxine, and Joy ended up. Although Zaida was not one of the dogs Nikki helped rescue, she agreed to bring Zaida back to the States to live with her.

When Zaida first arrived at Nikki’s home in September 2011, she was shy and would run the other way if approached too quickly. Over time, with love and affirmation, Zaida has come out of her shell and is one of the sweetest dogs of Nikki’s pack. Her favorite activity is to lie on the couch like Cleopatra with her paws up in the air waiting for someone to come and scratch her belly.

Zaida is such a peaceful soul who doesn’t have a mean bone in her body; you wouldn’t believe she’d ever endured the tortures of her early life. Although originally named “Chilli” by the rescue woman, Nikki changed her name to “Zaida,” meaning “fortunate one.” Not only is Zaida fortunate to have found her way to the States when so many other dogs don’t get such a second chance, but Nikki also feels fortunate to have Zaida as part of her heart and home.

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Tobey’s story began in the same shelter where Nikki found Zoie, Nino, and Buck. When Nikki saw his photo, she saw a sadness in his eyes that drove her to rescue him. Nikki knew that as a brown, mixed- breed dog, Tobey would likely have been euthanized, as brown dogs, along with black ones, are some of the last to get adopted from shelters.

Tobey was close to two years old when Nikki rescued him in May 2012. Heartworm positive, Tobey lived with a foster for three months so he could undergo treatment before joining the rest of the pack. When he first arrived at Nikki’s home, Tobey was still underweight and not yet fully developed. He didn’t know commands nor did he respond to his name for many months.

Since living with Nikki the past three years, Tobey’s gained almost forty pounds and has blossomed into an incredibly handsome dog, who gallops like a horse through the courtyard in search of one of his brothers or sisters to play with. Initially shy and withdrawn, Tobey has found his confidence these days, plopping himself down next to Nikki on the recreation room couch, seeking love and attention. Fortunately for Tobey, Nikki saw his photo and rescued him, sparing him a deadly fate that tens of thousands of dogs and cats face each and every day in the United States alone.

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Tanzi hails from Turkey, where she was rescued off the streets of Didim at around three months old after attracting the attention of a rescuer who saw her being abused by a group of young girls. Like her siblings, Maxine, Mattie, Joy and Zaida, Tanzi spent time in the rescue located near Didim before flying from Istanbul to Frankfurt then on to Orlando in September 2011.

Tanzi’s first year in Florida was a bit of an adjustment for her. Living in a home environment was strange for a dog who had only known the streets and life in a crowded rescue where she could do whatever she wanted to do. In fact, on one occasion, Nikki had to call the fire department to help rescue Tanzi from the roof of her home; she had climbed up and couldn’t get back down.

Today, Tanzi is an energetic dog who loves her home and pack of canine friends. Her favorite activity is to climb up on the back of the recreation room couch, put her paws on Nikki’s shoulders, and give her kisses. She also likes to let out the funniest barks, alerting everyone that she’s in the room. Almost three years after leaving her abusive past behind, Tanzi is flourishing in her new life as a pampered, rescued pooch.

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Snoopy’s journey began as a small puppy in the outskirts of Turkey, where he lived with his mother, Bambi, and his sister, Lucy, until the entire family was rescued by a devoted rescuer, Max Mensur, Kahrimanovic. When Nikki first saw Max’s post on Facebook about Snoopy and his family, she was struck by a comment left by one of Max’s friends: he reminded Max that “nothing is impossible” when it comes to animal rescue, even though, at the time, getting them to safety seemed outside the realm of possibility.

Nikki’s late father would often remind her that “nothing is impossible” when it comes to the accomplishments any one person can achieve in a lifetime. When Nikki saw these words posted on Max’s Facebook page, she knew she had to do whatever she could to assist in this rescue. Thanks to an international effort on the part of Max, T.C. Gilly Foreman, Val Whyte and her husband, Ian, Cudi Moss and her husband, and Neli Kahrimanovic, Nikki was able to bring Snoopy and his family to live in Florida with her a, remarkable accomplishment, to say the least.

When Snoopy first arrived in Florida in October 2013, he was terribly shy and would back away if approached too quickly. Today, Snoopy has blossomed into a sweetheart, a real gentle giant weighing in at ninety-five pounds, who loves attention, cuddles, and most of all, belly rubs. His soulful eyes speak a million different words all at once.

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The first dog adopted of Nikki’s current pack, Picasso holds a special place in her heart. Nikki adopted him in May 2008, four days after her first dog, Paulie, died unexpectedly while having a cyst removed from his neck for biopsy. Browsing PetFinder for a dog to help heal her heart after Paulie’s death, Nikki came across Picasso’s photo posted from a high kill shelter located near Lithia, Florida. When Nikki saw his soulful eyes, she heard, “Pick me.”

Picasso was only six months old when Nikki brought him home. Sadly, despite his young age, he showed signs of abuse, being fearful of the vacuum, dust vac, tape ruler, and blender. Through love and constant affirmation over the past seven years, Picasso has made leaps and bounds in overcoming his fears and is now a confident dog with a very sentimental spirit.

Picasso is an extremely handsome dog with chiseled back legs like a race horse. Most days, you will find him running from one end of the courtyard to the other, protecting Nikki, his home, and the rest of the pack as he is definitely “king” of the castle. Picasso just turned seven and with each passing year, he and Nikki grow closer as two souls brought together by the forces of fate.

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Like Buck, Nino also came from the animal shelter in Chipley, Florida. When Nikki first saw Nino’s photo on the shelter’s Facebook page, she knew he wasn’t going to find an adopter or rescue very easily, as his size, breed, and tough- guy looks were all strikes against him. Given that Nino most likely faced being euthanized, Nikki trusted her instincts and adopted him, making him number nine of her pack.

When Nino first arrived at Nikki’s home in March 2012, he was timid and showed heartbreaking signs of abuse: when someone would approach him, he would cower on the ground and urinate out of fear. After realizing he was in a safe place and no longer had anything to fear, however, Nino began to flourish and thrive.

Today, Nino is an outgoing, energetic dog who loves to cuddle on the couch and give huge wet kisses. He is a testament to the old saying “you can’t judge a book by its cover.” Despite his tough guy looks, he’s a kind, loving soul who just needed someone to give him a chance.

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Maxine was about seven months old when she found by Max Mensur Kahrimanovic in November 2010 living on a construction site near Cannakale, Turkey. In his usual kind-hearted manner, Max fed Maxine and several other strays, one of whom now lives with him and wife, Neli, in Sweden. As fate would have it, Max and Nikki connected through Facebook, thanks to a mutual friend, and, together, they coordinated getting Maxine to a rescue near Didim, despite being an ocean apart.

Maxine spent about a year at the rescue, along with her siblings, Mattie, Joy, Zaida and Tanzi, where she healed from demodectic mange and slowly learned to trust humans. Finally, after months and months of delay, Maxine and her sibling boarded a van in Didim and headed to Istanbul, where they boarded their Lufthansa flight bound for Frankfurt, Germany, then onto the States.

When Maxine and her siblings first arrived in Florida in September 2011, she was shy, quiet, and kept mostly to herself. Over the years, though, Maxine has found her voice with the help of her packmates, Buck and Izzie. She now runs up to Nikki and rolls over for belly rubs, showing her trust for Nikki and the comfort she takes in knowing she is finally safe and sound in her forever home.

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Mattie’s journey began in November 2010 when she was found by rescuer Max Mensur Kahrimanovic living in a junkyard near Cannakale, Turkey. At the time, Mattie was only eight to ten weeks old, starving and alone, without a mother or father to care for or defend her. Mattie was the first of the Turkish dogs Nikki adopted after seeing her photo posted on Facebook and instantly falling in her love with her sweet, innocent face.

Like her siblings, Maxine, Joy, Zaida and Tanzi, Mattie lived at the rescue near Didim until making the long journey across Turkey to Istanbul, where they flew to Germany and then on to Orlando, where Nikki finally met them and brought them home. Once home, it took Mattie nearly two years to overcome the separation anxiety she suffered due to the stressful environment at the Turkish rescue.

Mattie has blossomed into a kind, sweet soul who loves her family, canine and human alike. Her favorite thing is to lie in the corner of the recreation room couch, staring with adoring eyes at Jonmichael , who is in the vet program at the local high school and helps to care for her. Mattie is thriving in her forever home and is living proof of an abandoned dog whose “fairytail” story did, in fact, come true.

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