When Nicole Bacani bought Rocky the dog from what she thought was a reputable an online breeder, she was just excited to meet her new pet.
As she left to the airport to pick him up, little did she realize the shocking sight she was about to behold.
The flea-covered miniature pinscher not only had pneumonia and weighed less than 3 pounds, it appeared somebody had used scissors to cut his ears.
After taking Rocky to the veterinarian, it was clear he had gone through the stuff of nightmares: He had come from a puppy mill.
That's the moment Bacani turned from concerned pet owner to a dog activist, The Dodo reports.
"This was before I knew about rescuing dogs," Bacani, who lives in New York City, recalls of the moment she found out about Rocky's past. "As I read about puppy mills, it opened my eyes to how puppy mills work. I vowed never again to have anything to do with that."
From that point on, she decided to learn more. Within a couple of months, she ended up taking into her home two more dogs.
"I instantly fell in love with him," recalls Bacani of Hunter, the second dog she bought from an animal shelter only a little while after being moved by Rocky's plight. "We put our name down. The next day as we were coming back to Queens, they had processed our application, got a good recommendation and said we could take him now."
After that, she and her husband took in a pit bull, Lexi, whose owner was about to take him to a kill shelter.
"We'll keep her for the weekend," Kres, Bacani's husband, recalls thinking at the time.
"Then I fell in love with her," added Bacani.
Since then, the three dogs have been inseparable -- even going so far as to take care of each other when one is sick.
"It was amazing to see how they treated her and respected her and stood by her," Nicole remarked on the attention the dogs gave Lexi after she had a surgery.
But that's not all. Because of their goods deeds, and the love the dogs all share for each other, the "Rescued Rock Stars" stories have touched thousands on Instagram while raising awareness.
"It's beyond touching to see the bond they have," wrote one user. "They're so precious."