The Nika Animal Network is named in honor of my first dog and best friend.
A few years after adopting her, I learned that Nika means victory. How appropriate she has that name. Not only has she been victorious over her life circumstances, she has also helped many homeless dogs become victorious over their circumstances. Nika has also helped one human become victorious over her life circumstances. That is why the name Nika is so significant – Nika is Victory.
About a year before Nika, I adopted Noah. He was a scrawny, sickly little kitten who paced back and forth in his small dirty cage. His high pitched meows grew more intense with each passing. He was the last kitten left at a local adoption event – nobody wanted him. He had a very rough start in life but he, too, is victorious. He has flourished and grown into the most beautiful loving cat. The beginning of the Nika Animal Network really begins with Noah.
The Nika Animal Network was founded to advocate on behalf of animals. Some love helping people. I love helping animals. By helping animals, I help people, too. This path began about fifteen years ago. I was yearning for something more in life than just my career – finding a passion was important. During this time I was also coming out of the darkness of a serious eating disorder I had been struggling with for many years.
The search began and I started volunteering with different animal organizations. When I met Nika, she was about a year old and was living in the back of a facility in a small kennel. She is a unique looking dog, black and lean with a tail shaped like a question mark. Her eyes are amber and they almost look human. A very poor family brought Nika to the organization because they could not afford to keep her. She was adopted out but returned because she did not get along with other dogs.
There was a puppy in the kennel run next to Nika. My intention was to take him out for a walk, but Nika would not have it. She would not stop barking – she was relentless. It was if she was saying, “Don’t take him out, take me because I am going to be a very important part of your life!” So I did. We went on our first of many walks. Not long after our first walk, I fostered her for a few days and then adopted her.
Adopting Nika was the best decision and commitment I have ever made. A year after adopting her she and I started fostering dogs. There have been so many I have almost lost count. It is ironic that she was described as not getting along with other dogs because she has helped so many dogs as a foster dog mom. She has shared her dog wisdom, her home, her bed, her hikes with many wayward dogs. She has helped me in transtioning our foster dogs to better places – to become victorious.
Nika is about 15 years old now. She was diagnosed three years ago with a rare form of cancer. Miraculously, the tumor disappeared and she has been victorious once again. For the time being we have a reprieve. I am grateful she is still here to see the beginning of the Foundation that is named after her. I know Nika will not be here forever, but she will live on through the Nika Animal Network, helping animals and people realize victory over adversity.
Nika is Victory.