Canine Lovers Unite for Pets in Ukraine

It’s been one month for the reason that conflict started. I’m right here in Ukraine, embedded with a Polish veterinary group from the Ada Foundation — an animal clinic and hospital positioned close to the Ukrainian border in Poland. We’re touring in a convoy of two animal ambulance vans, loaded with much-needed meals and medical provides, on a mission to assist pets displaced by conflict.

We go a navy checkpoint as we drive towards the small village of Mo´sciska, positioned on the outskirts of Lviv. There may be an eerie sense of foreboding because the conflict rages on, simply 350 miles from right here.

4 refugee dogs in shelter
Refugee canine are seen on the Asylum of Mercy animal shelter positioned on the outskirts of Lviv, Ukraine. Practically 300 canine in whole await transport to Poland after fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine. ©Alan De Herrera

Overwhelmed Ukrainian shelters

“The shelters in Ukraine are overwhelmed due to all of the canine coming from the east,” says Cezar Kotowicz, the journey coordinator, referring to the canine from the war-torn areas. “These shelters don’t have sufficient sources and want our assist.”

black shepherd mix rescue dog
This black shepherd combine arrived on the Ada Foundations’s veterinary hospital after being transported in an animal ambulance from a shelter in Ukraine. ©Alan De Herrera

We arrive on the Hope Ranch, a small shelter run by Anya Zhuk. Wagging tails and pleasant barks greet us as we begin unloading 3 tons of donated kibble and different provides. “We now have 80 rescues right here,” Anya says. “Three extra arrived this morning.”

The group unpacks and assembles steel crates whereas seven canine are wrangled for evacuation. “One has a damaged leg,” Anya tells me. “Some misplaced their homeowners and want affection. We are able to’t hug all of them.”

One after the other, every canine is fastidiously loaded right into a van together with a smooth mattress and blanket for the lengthy experience to security and a brand new life.

On the Asylum of Mercy shelter, we assist Nataliya Kuznetsova, who has practically 300 canine. “We want a variety of meals to look after all these canine,” says Nataliya, who began her nonprofit in 2006. “A lot of them have been dropped off by homeowners who went off to struggle within the conflict,“ she provides. “It’s a tough state of affairs.”

Pets are harmless bystanders

The Ada Basis is dedicated to aiding these and different shelters for so long as it takes. As a way to convey again rescued canine from Ukraine, Poland’s border management requires every canine to be microchipped and have all required vaccine paperwork.

veterinarian jakub kotowicz with dog with broken legs
Polish Veterinarian Jakub Kotowicz from the Ada Basis poses with Hart, a Ukrainian canine refugee. Hart was rescued and transported throughout the border into Poland after struggling two damaged legs. ©Alan De Herrera

“We now have handled over 400 canine from Ukraine,” says Radak Fedaczynski, a veterinarian and co-owner of the Ada Basis. He introduces me to Moon, a German Shepherd rescued from Ukraine. “She’s an older canine,” he says.

Moon arrived on the middle dehydrated and with a foul pores and skin an infection. Dr. Fedaczynski then factors to a small mass beneath her stomach. “She has a tumor that must be eliminated.”

In one other room, there are extra conflict tales. There I meet Hart, a 1-year-old, rambunctious black Husky combine with piercing blue eyes. He wears a forged on every of his entrance legs, which have been severely damaged.

Subsequent I meet Vira, a small canine recovering from a gunshot wound and spinal damage. “She was saved from the war-torn Donbas area,” says Ada Basis veterinarian Jakub Kotowicz. Together with her again legs suspended in a vertical harness, Vira receives aqua remedy. Dr. Kotowicz exhibits me her CT scan which reveals a small bullet lodged in the midst of her backbone. “She could not be capable to use her again legs sooner or later, so we’re getting ready to construct her a wheelchair.”

Vira wags her tail as they encourage her to maneuver her hind legs by way of the nice and cozy water. “Rehabilitation is a protracted course of,” Dr. Kotowicz says. “However in some unspecified time in the future, she might be out there for adoption.”

Like the youngsters, these canine are harmless bystanders of conflict. Noncombatants. However there’s something strikingly totally different about this battle because it pertains to animals. The world’s protection within the media and on social has put Ukraine’s pets on the forefront, day after day. And in doing so, their tales won’t go

veterinarian giving dog physical therapy
Veterinarian Jakub Kotowicz and his medical workers conducting a bodily remedy session with Ukrainian refugee canine Vira, who suffered a gunshot wound to her backbone. ©Alan De Herrera

How You Can Assist the Pets of Ukraine

We right here at Dogster love animals, and we’re heartbroken to see all of the beloved pets who’ve been displaced or are combating their individuals in Ukraine as they attempt to flee towards security.

Lots of the bigger nationwide and worldwide animal organizations have stepped as much as assist the animals in Ukraine. Right here a just some:

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has donated $150,000 in emergency funds to worldwide animal welfare efforts in response to the pressing wants of animals and pet homeowners impacted by the conflict. (

The Worldwide Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is working with native companions to get provides to wildlife sanctuaries and animal shelters in Ukraine. (

American Humane licensed a $10,000 emergency grant to assist with the IFAW’s efforts. (

The American Veterinary Medical Affiliation’s (AVMA) charitable arm, the American Veterinary Medical Basis (AVMF) directed a $100,000 donation from Merck Animal Well being to assist veterinary and animal-welfare teams in Ukraine and surrounding areas, then matched it with a $100,000 grant of its personal.
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Nevertheless it’s not simply organizations. Many U.S. veterinarians have traveled to Ukraine to supply their assist. Listed below are tales from three of them. You’ll be able to observe their travels and discover organizations they advocate supporting.

Dr. Marty Becker, founding father of Worry Free Pets, coated his personal bills and went to the Ukraine-Romania border, the place he labored carefully with Romanian rescue Sava’s Secure Haven (, and helped present care to pets in a tent that housed veterinary companies, utilizing the fear-free strategies he created. Be taught extra at

Colorado-based veterinarian Dr. Jon Geller headed to a Romanian border crossing with Ukraine, the place he was capable of arrange a government-approved, veterinary-licensed clinic in a big tent supplied on the border station, primarily caring for refugee pets to permit them to proceed touring by way of Europe. Dr. Geller added a Undertaking Ukraine initiative to his current nonprofit The Avenue Canine Coalition, which offers free veterinary companies to pets of individuals experiencing homelessness. Be taught extra at

Dr. Gary Weitzman, veterinarian and president of the San Diego Humane Society, gathered up medical provides and spent 10 days in a pop-up clinic on the Poland-Ukraine border with the purpose of caring for as many animals as he may throughout that point interval. Teaming up with a German volunteer group, they supplied meals, provides and first support to the animals. Be taught extra about his journey by doing a seek for “Ukraine” at

It’s not possible to checklist the entire people and organizations who’re serving to the individuals and pets of Ukraine. We ask our readers to inform us about any they’ve come throughout, and we’ll add them to a listing on Simply e-mail us at

Alan De Herrera is a journey photojournalist working domestically and internationally, specializing in humanitarian, wildlife and canine tales. He lives in Irvine, California, together with his Border Collie combine, Capitán. Observe him on instagram @alandeherrera.ig


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