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Animal Rescue

Illustration: #ZhenyaPolosina


Pets are real family members for many Ukrainians. People hide in bomb shelters and evacuate to safer places along with their dogs, cats, birds, pigs, fish, and ponies, among a long list of other kinds of animals.

At the same time, you can’t explain to a dog or a cat why there are explosions around, and you have to spend nights in the basement or drive in a car for several days. So, veterinarians had plenty of work with the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine. Now, they must save animals affected by military actions and help pets deal with constant stress.

However, some owners abandoned their pets or were unable to take them because of the war. Cats and dogs remained locked in apartments and houses for weeks or ended up under rubble after enemy shelling. Volunteers and neighbors freed the animals, then found their new homes or returned them to their previous owners whenever possible. If there was no way to get into the closed apartment, people looked for ways to pass food and water. For example, some volunteers cut small holes in doors.

Shelters and zoos located in occupied territories or near the front line faced other challenges. Such places were quickly left without electricity and water during the war, and food supplies ran out rapidly, too. The workers have to collect rainwater, look for some food, and make their way to their wards under fire, risking their own lives. Unfortunately, many animals don’t survive in such conditions.

Where it is possible, volunteers try to evacuate animals from shelters, zoos, or eco-parks to the west of Ukraine or to the EU. Some of them find new owners there, while others find a temporary shelter. Every rescued animal becomes a symbol of humanity during the war.


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