Help Animals Survive the War in Ukraine (Click on link to donate.)
Meet the People Behind the Fundraiser for Ukrainian Animal Shelters (Click on link to listen to the inspiring BARKS podcast.)
– animals finding new homes even during the war
– expanding capacity by building new enclosures to take in even more animals
– kitten and puppy season and the need for more spay/neuter access
– delivering food all over Ukraine for animals on the streets, in home shelters, and beyond
– a brand new wood-burning stove to cook for 250+ residents of Sotnitskoe shelter
… and so much more!
Also, if you have young kids (K-6th grade), you may want to check out the Little Justice Leaders, a monthly kit for teaching children about social justice issues in a fun and age-appropriate way. The theme for July is “Animal Protection”, and I was honored to help educate the kids (and adults) about the animal welfare crisis in Ukraine.
Thank you all for your continued support of the cause. If you are able to, please donate again here, or help me to support the shelters in any other way you can – by encouraging others to contribute, publicizing the fundraiser, recruiting corporate sponsors, or connecting me with animal welfare activists within your networks.
The Big Picture
Since the last monthly update, we have raised $3,861. Of those, $3,750 were distributed to shelters. I did the quick math, and am proud to say that your donations are helping about 1000 animals, not counting those receiving food from Ms. Anisimova’s team. Thank you all for your support of the cause!
Unfortunately, the war is creeping closer to Dnipro. In June, the city was hit by several rockets. Easternmost parts of the Dnipro Province are under daily shelling. Across the border in Donbass Region, intense fighting in twin cities of Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk made it too unsafe to deliver animal and human food there, and to bring animals back to the (relative) safety of Dnipro. Combine that with gas shortages, skyrocketing prices, and unrelenting air raid sirens (more than 500 in Dnipro region since March), and the animal shelter staff are feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, and apprehensive about the future.
Yet, amid darkness, there have been many heartwarming moments. Remember the cat from Sievierodonetsk who was brought to Kovcheg shelter after being locked in an apartment for over a month? Emaciated, with severe metabolic derangements, she survived against all odds and … (drum roll) … just got a family of her own! Across town, a young man stopped by the Ray of Hope shelter, asking which of the cats was the hardest to adopt … and took home with him an older blind ginger cat. These are just two out of the many adoptions that happened since the beginning of the war, so see this album for more happy stories.
Alongside with adoptions, most shelters are working on structural repairs and building new enclosures to accommodate the influx of animals. In addition to pets left behind by fleeing owners and those rescued from the war zone, newly born litters are constantly coming in. Olga from Sotnitskoe shelter said with exasperation that “this year, like never before, we have a huge problem with kittens and puppies”. Not surprisingly, all shelters are pleading for more help with spaying and neutering procedures, not just for their residents, but for the strays and recently homeless pets.
Next, a couple updates about the food. Thanks to your donations, on June 16th Ms. Olena Anisimova secured 6,000 lb of animal food, including lifesaving prescription diets, delivered by Hordle Heros volunteers from Great Britain. Since then, not a day goes by without Olena sending yummy treats to shelters, individual rescuers, and regular citizens who feed strays, literally all over Ukraine, and particularly to places with severely disrupted supply chains.
And the last bit of good news. In May, Sotnitskoe’s wood stove completely broke down, leaving the staff to cook food for 250+ animals on a makeshift stove outside. This month, your donations allowed them to build a brand-new stove which will feed the hungry residents for many years to come. The staff at Sotnitskoe are immensely grateful to you for your support!
These are just snapshots of all the wonderful work that your donations are allowing the shelters to do, so please donate again if you are able to, or help in any way you can – by encouraging others to contribute, publicizing the fundraiser, recruiting corporate sponsors, or connecting me with animal welfare activists.
*** INDIVIDUAL SHELTER UPDATES ***
Homeless Little One: After stocking up on food and feeling confident in your support, Olena decided to go in for a much-needed surgery which she kept postponing, unable to even take a day off, not to mention two months of recovery with lifting restrictions. With your help, Olena hired a part-time custodian and a couple of handymen who are helping her to take care of the shelter while she heals. This is a new experience for Olena who says: “It feels strange. I am so used to doing everything myself. But it’s OK, I need to be patient [with myself]. I am so grateful for all the help”.
This month, Olena took in 5 new puppies who were left outside. Just like staff from other shelters, she could not simply walk by. Olena also happily reported that one of the resident dogs Peppy and one of the new puppies found new homes. Finally, she built a new enclosure and a new footpath to it, which lets Olena bring food to the dogs with a push cart. She hopes to build footpaths to other enclosures, and also needs to urgently spay/neuter 12 dogs.
Homeless Little One received $500 from your donations this month.
Kovcheg reported that their number of animals has increased by 60% compared to pre-war averages, which is why they are repairing existing enclosures and building new ones. With your help, Kovcheg purchased the netting and frames for 4 additional enclosures. Planning for the worst, they are designing enclosures that can be easily disassembled and transported to a different location. This is in addition to continuing with adoptions both locally and in Europe. In mid-June, Kovcheg greeted Czech volunteers, Monika and Petra, who despite getting caught in the line of fire near Mykolaiv, made it to Dnipro to deliver animal food and bring back 6 cats and two dogs with them.
Kovcheg received $500 from your donations this month
Sotnitskoe staff were busy rebuilding the broken stove after your donations helped them purchase all the necessary materials. Here, you can see a few quick pictures snapped during the process. The before and after difference is truly striking. But, most importantly, the 250+ animals will now have warm and nutritious meals to eat every day. Unfortunately, the ordeal isn’t completely over, as the staff now need to urgently repair the roof of the kitchen. On the animal front, several long-time residents and new rescues (including everyone’s favorite tripod Basya) needed acute veterinary care. Despite having to drive 75 miles to the clinic, Olga is determined to save them, saying “I can’t just watch and do nothing. I will be doing all I can to fight for their lives till the very end”. Finally, it’s the hay season now, and the shelter needs to stock up on 2000 bales of hay to feed their five horses, several sheep and their goat Frosia throughout the winter.
Sotnitskoe received $500 from your donations this month.
Ray of Hope took in a dozen kittens this month that were left on the streets. Shelter’s founder Iryna is strongly advocating for spaying and neutering, and has a few of her own “teenagers” in the shelter who need these procedures. While taking care of the day-to-day feeding, cleaning, and medical care, Iryna is dreaming about a “Cat House”. Right now, her 50+ cats and 8 dogs all live in a small 500 sq ft house, and she notices that “cats are not too comfortable because of that”. As a solution, Iryna wants to purchase a pre-fabricated “kiosk” and attach a netted enclosure for the animals to go outside. She sent me the video of a prototype she saw at another shelter, and I hope that we together can help her dream to come true.
Ray of Hope received $500 from your donations this month.
Urgent Animal Help – Dnipro also needs to expand their capacity. In both of the shelters, Little Tails and Little Noses, the old enclosures are falling apart. Additionally, they need to construct a new fenced area where the dogs can run freely in order to stay active and healthy. The shelter staff also let me know that they continue to need dry food and litter box fillers for the cats. With your help, the staff purchased preventative anti-parasitic medications, as well as cleaning and disinfecting supplies for animal enclosures.
Urgent Animal Help – Dnipro received $500 from your donations this month.
Ms. Olena Anisimova partnered with British volunteers from Hordle Heros, who this month delivered 6,000lb of pet food. Her team also regularly receives food donations from a Polish non-profit Fundacja for Animals, and the Ukrainian charitable foundation Karitas Lviv, as well as a multitude of sponsors from all over Europe. With your help, Olena and her team deliver these food donations to all corners of Ukraine, and share all the reports on Olena’s Facebook page.
Ms. Olena Anisimova received $500 from your donations this month.
Equine Court continues to welcome visitors, among whom are many refugees, to their rescue center for free. With your help, the staff purchased a few necessities this month, including a special saddle for the horse Leva to protect his back, wood shavings, cleaning supplies, and a few useful knick-knacks. The staff are starting much-needed renovations, including painting the stables and freshening up the arena. They are also happy to say that the injured horse Major, whose medical care was paid for with your donations, is continuing to recover well.
Equine Court received $250 from your donations this month.
We Stand for the Right to Live continues to provide urgent medical care to many animals with significant medical needs and find them new homes. They are also actively looking for homes for local animals and those brought in from the combat zone.
We Stand for the Right to Live received $500 from your donations this month.
Marina Bayeva & all the tails
About the Author
Marina Bayeva, MD, PhD was born and raised in Dnipro, Ukraine and is a Fellow in Hospital-Based Psychotherapy at The Austen Riggs Center in Massachusetts. Dr. Bayeva’s devotion to animal welfare causes began in childhood. She collected lunch scraps from the cafeteria for street cats while she convinced her parents to let her have a cat of her own, adding to their menagerie of guinea pigs, hamsters and birds. Dr. Bayeva’s parents still live in Dnipro, where her aid efforts to local shelters and rescue organizations have been focused. She currently shares her home with two rescued cats Herman and Tyson and her rescued dog, Henry, who loves to steal Impossible burgers from the freezer.