Award-winning luxury florist Nikki Tibbles, from Wild at Heart, is one of the most celebrated British Florists – renowned for luxurious hand-tied bouquets, high profile weddings and events. We reconnect with Nikki to chat more about her London life with her six gorgeous rescue dogs. An avid dog lover, Nikki also tells us more about her fantastic Wild at Heart Foundation and why everyone should rescue an animal.
Yes, we have so many exciting projects going on this year. Lot’s of fabulous weddings and events, in the UK and overseas. I feel incredibly lucky every day. Unfortunately, we won’t be attending Chelsea Flower Show this year, but I will aim to visit the show. At the moment, I am spending a lot of my time at Bicester Village working together on our collaboration. It’s so wonderful to see it grow from strength to strength. You can now visit Bicester Village to not only shop all the fabulous clothes, but there is wonderful space to sit, relax and enjoy the landscaping and gardens.
Tell us all about the Wild at Heart Foundation?
I set up Wild at Heart Foundation with my dear friend Nadine Kayser in 2015 after we met when both adopting dogs from Romania. We shared a passion for addressing the issues relating them to the world’s stray dog population and began talks to set up a charity together. In May 2015 the charity was officially registered by the UK’s Charity Commission. I felt so incredibly lucky and grateful over the years my business Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart went from strength to strength and I really wanted to give back. The Foundation is partly funded by a donation of profits from the Nikki Tibbles Wild at Heart business and by funds raised through events, auctions and private donations. 100% of the funds raised go directly to the projects we support. These include rescue projects worldwide, neutering programmes, like our recent trip to Puerto Rico, awareness campaigns and education initiatives. Our mission is clear, we aim to end to the constant killing of dogs around the world. We aim to do this by managing dog populations humanely, by getting to the root of the issue which includes reducing uncontrolled breeding and supporting rehoming and education projects. We find that these are the most effective ways to protect animals in communities and humanely reduce the stray dog population. We also fund and support animal welfare projects all over the world.
We love your dogs! Tell us more about them.
I have my six gorgeous dogs. There’s big Len who was thrown down a well at six months old and left to die. Tia who was caught in a trap and had to gnaw her own tail off to get free. Ronnie from Romania who’s mother was shot and decapitated in front of her litter. Ronnie is the reason I met the wonderful Nadine and started the Foundation. Nadine also has another dog from the same litter – Bally. Then there’s my amazing Smith who was locked in a cage for three years with a broken jaw. My two most recent adoptions are Ruby and Rita – my Puerto Rico girls! Rita was dumped on a highway and was handed to me upon arrival last January when I was over visiting our project out there. She literally slept around my neck for the entire duration of our trip. Ruby, I couldn’t resist. She was in a tiny cage at the back of a rescue center which we visited during the same trip and was deemed not re-homeable. She looks like two of my previous dogs, Reuben and Mazie, and I knew she had to come home with me immediately.
How do they get on together?
Do they all live with you in London?
Yes, and in the country when we’re down there at weekends.
Any funny habits?
Lenny sleeps on his back and snores! Ronnie leans in the most obscure way when lying down. Rita does not stop wagging her tail – she literally is the happiest dog ever and Ruby is absolutely obsessed with my partner Will. When he is around she does not leave his side!
Where do they walk? Any favourite places to go?
South Downs and Hampstead Heath.
Do they travel with you? Any favourite pet-friendly PetsPyjamas hotels?
They don’t travel with me as much as I’d like. We have had the most wonderful stay at the Gunton Arms before though.
What would you say to someone looking to adopt a rescue pet?
There are SO many reasons to adopt a dog. Firstly, you are literally saving a life. Rescuing a dog rather than buying one from a breeder allows you to give a dog a life, that otherwise would have been out of reach for them. Just like people, every dog is different so rehoming charities can help you find the dog that will be most suitable for your family and your lifestyle. There are many behavioural assessments and rehoming processes to go through to ensure the perfect match. You’ve never experienced such devotion and gratitude until you’ve adopted a rescue dog…