Dog seen alone in the rain with a stuffed toy in its mouth gets rescued and re-homed
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Nikki the German Shepherd is now safe, with a belly full of food and with a warm bed to sleep in after months of living on the streets.
But her tale is a sad one.
She became a sad yet viral sensation weeks ago when pictures of the poor soggy pup circulated online in the US city of Detroit, Michigan.
People snapped photos of poor Nikki wandering aimlessly around town clutching her very own version of a life buoy, her stuffed animal, named Stuffy.
The photographs of the lonely and forgotten German shepherd were enough to melt even the coldest of hearts.
But, thankfully, they were seen by someone with a kind heart and the resources to change one pup's life for the better.
Cofounder of Almost Home Animal Rescue League Gail Montgomery first saw pictures of Nikki in early May and decided to do something for this doggo.
"I got some private messages and pictures of this dog carrying her stuffed toy, and it was raining in downtown Detroit. It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking," Montgomery told PEOPLE of seeing Nikki for the first time.
The animal-lover sprang into action and reached out to South Lyon Murphy Lost Animal Recovery for help in finding and rescuing the sad and lonely dog.
And, would you know it, Montgomery's 'Queen of Catch' came through for her, with the rescue service locating and picking up Nikki in no time at all.
Of course, with Nikki came her 'Stuffy', too.
Montgomery soon discovered that poor Nikki had been on her own for months, likely due to the death of her owner.
The plucky pooch had been living off the generosity of neighbours and had been scrounging for scraps.
"We took her to an emergency hospital, and they treated her. Unfortunately, she's got heartworm disease and other internal problems," Montgomery said of the Alsatian's first vet visit.
In her tummy they found a mixture of plastic bags, twigs, and bones.
Nikki was then placed in a foster system by Almost Home, which is a no-kill animal rescue league, where she continues her treatment.
She's now on a healthy (and far yummier diet) of chicken and rice with a side of love from her foster family.
As she heals, both physically and emotionally, Nikki's cheeky and sparkling personality comes out more and more, too.
"She doesn't even need her Stuffy anymore. She's constantly hugging her foster parents," Montgomery revealed.
"She still kind of sleeps on it, but she's not obsessed with it like she was in Detroit when she was walking around."
Montgomery sang the praises of Nikki's foster family for doing what they can to save the life of a four-legged friend.
"They're giving her so much incredible love," she revealed, adding with Nikki it seems that 'the nicer you are to her, the more affectionate and kinder she gets'.
The Almost Home cofounder shared Nikki's story hoping to inspire others to foster other animals in desperate need of loving homes while they search for their fur-ever family.