THE DOGS OF WAR …are family. This post is really a photo essay with links you can use to support animal rescue operations and refugee pet owners.
Sandra Neily here: Every time, I see a picture of Ukraine’s fleeing children (like here), I think of my two young granddaughters and my own daughter and everything aches. Just aches.
But every time I look at Raven (my rescued dog) I see the dogs of war.
When I looked deeper for images of dogs and the war, I was overcome. This picture of a husky being carried over a stream as the owner balanced on a narrow plank told me I had to do something.
This post is mainly a photo essay, with links you can use to support animal rescue operations and refugee pet owners. Many small groups and organizations are doing most of the work, partnered up with larger organizations that have donation structures and websites in place.
Please share this post. And if you can, donate. Thank you.
What’s Going On?
There are good Samaritans in Ukraine who take dogs off the streets and also untie them at train and bus station platforms where they’ve been left by desperate owners who could not board with pets. Owners often clip notes and cell phone numbers to collars, hoping to someday see their pets again or tell someone the name of a beloved dog, hoping it will find a good home.
There are veterinarians still working in bombed cities. Many refuse to leave.
There are thousands and thousands of dogs and cats that make it out, either with owners carrying them, or by rescue services that operate vans crossing into Ukraine to find and save animals. ADA is one of those special groups in Poland and a recent donation allowed ADA to buy and equip another animal rescue van. (Volunteers work around the clock to staff these vans.)
And then there are the left behind pets … even when owners do not want to leave them. The streets and fields are full of strays. When the Russians capture territory, they shoot them. In many areas Ukraine teams go into buildings and apartments looking to save abandoned animals.
Marcus Yam of the L.A. Times took this picture and explained it later in an interview. This man had tried to flee from Mariupol, but, paralyzed by the bombing, his terrified dog refused to move. Refused to walk. His owner, knelt and calmed his dog, telling him it was all going to be OK and then walked him back to his home, to familiar surroundings … and left him. I cannot imagine.
Stray dogs who adopt Ukraine fighters bring light and moments of softness.
Red Tape. The EU was very slow to respond to refugees traveling with pets, but it’s better now. Here’s a list of countries (EU and other) with revised and more humane refugee/pet entry procedures. Updates on the Situation for Animals in Ukraine – PETA UK
Network For Animals (this link has donation info) When A Shelter Volunteer Saw The NFA Animal Ambulance Arrive In Ukraine Full Of Supplies, She Broke Down And Cried At The Side Of The Road… – Network For Animals
ADA is supported by the Network for Animals. ADA Foundation, run by Radek and Jakub, has been operating for 30 years in Przemysl, a Polish city near the border with Ukraine. …their priority now is to provide food and medical assistance to pets evacuated from Ukraine. This site has a good video of ADA’s work (see first item).
Humane Society International (HSI) is providing emergency supplies such as pet food and blankets, as well as veterinary care and funding for many refugees in need. Humane Society International (hsi.org)
Aid for Ukraine Animals – War Paws supports many smaller groups (listed), taking animals out and bringing food into Ukraine. There’s a serious (often desperate) need for pet food within the country.
The “Just Giving” site: Nick and Vanessa seem like the real deal: crowd sourcing and helping other groups buy materials they need, including animal evacuation vans (a recent one for ADA). The site has a good video showing their work. Crowdfunding to support the Ukrainian refugees (people & pets) on JustGiving
AWI Fundraises for Animals Impacted by War in Ukraine | Animal Welfare Institute (awionline.org)
This organization has a list of all groups helping animals that it has funded.
UAnimals is creating rescuing animals in Ukraine | Patreon This organization has daily updates/news on rescues (including zoo animals) and if you donate, you get even more news.
A smaller rescue note:
I did rescue my most recent dog, Raven. She spent two years in a crate and was used only for breeding. I wrote her a poem as sometimes when she bends into a wall to sleep, I am reminded of her history and give her an extra hug or run in the woods. It’s also a message that trauma is a deep thing.
Raven is bending her head
into a hard corner of the living room.
The rest of her long, black, sleek body
lies relaxed on the floor.
She gazes at me with eyes almost as dark as her coat.
“This is the way I lay in my small crate before
I came to live with you
and love you. But I still need to feel the crate
at my neck. Sometimes.”
An author dog note. My mystery novels have a badly-behaved dog who was stolen from an abusive home and sent to live with the protagonist down a Maine dirt road. Early on, my agent said, “Now you can’t kill the dog. Readers love him so you’re stuck with him.” I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Sandy’s debut novel, “Deadly Trespass, A Mystery in Maine” won a national Mystery Writers of America award, was a finalist in the Women’s Fiction Writers Association “Rising Star” contest, and was a finalist for a Maine Literary Award. The second Mystery in Maine, “Deadly Turn,” was published in 2021. Her third “Deadly” is due out in 2022. Find her novels at all Shermans Books (Maine) and on Amazon. Find more info on Sandy’s website.