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“Ready For A Home”: Ukraine’s Flood-Rescue Pets Find New Families

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'Ready For A Home': Ukraine's Flood-Rescue Pets Find New Families

Volunteers rescue flood-stranded animals, Kyiv centre provides shelter. (File)

Kyiv, Ukraine:

A small dog with shaggy fur trustingly put his paw in a volunteer’s hand at a Kyiv pet shelter taking in animals rescued from a devastating flood in southern Ukraine.

More than a hundred cats and dogs have made their way to this shelter in an exhibition centre pavilion after being rescued by volunteers in the Kherson region, where the Kakhovka dam breach caused massive floods last week.

Some have already found new homes, while others are waiting to be reunited with their owners, who have been found via social media.

The plight of animals stranded and distressed in floods prompted numerous volunteers to go and rescue them and the Kyiv centre opened its doors to house them — particularly dogs, since it has large and suitable enclosures.

“In a week, since we started working, we have already taken more than 100 animals,” said the director of the Patron Pet Centre, Iryna Podvoiska.

‘Need to help’

“Because the tragedy is large-scale, many animals will need help. And we can provide help because we have experience and the space for it.”

Ms Podvoiska said that almost all the animals in the shelter have already been snapped up for adoption, and there was a constant stream of people coming in to collect dogs on Thursday.

“Only yesterday we found homes for 26 animals,” she said.

The centre releases animals only after vaccinating, sterilising and chipping them. Volunteers say most of the animals coming in are not chipped.

Sometimes they refuse to return them to previous owners even if they are found — if, for example, they send photos of the dog kept on a chain outside with a kennel.

A newly-wed couple, Sandra and Yuriy, were taking their first dog, a female Alsatian, who lay on her back allowing Yuriy to stroke her. She also obeyed a command to “sit”.

Sandra said the couple, who work as volunteers with children from war-torn areas, had wanted to take aid to Kherson but could not go in time.

“We thought, well why not, we need to help,” she said.

“Our volunteer activity for Kherson turned out to be a dog.”

The couple first met the dog the day before and said they knew little about her history.

“She’s so big and kind. We work with children and we would like her to be like a therapy animal,” said Sandra.

“She’s also very active and Yuriy and I are also energetic, so we need a dog like that.”

They said they plan to give her the English name Gracie, because she is a blessing.

‘Ready for a home’

An older couple took a ginger cat who was still woozy and wearing a head collar after being neutered.

The clean shelter has modern enclosures with sound proofing and lights that can be turned off for the animals to sleep.

Three kittens dozed after being rescued together — most likely having lived outside.

In another enclosure, two dogs lay close to each other. Volunteers put food bowls beside them, but one refused to eat.

Dog behaviour specialist Alyaska Varieva said they were the most traumatised animals in the shelter. They arrived together but seemed to have no experience of human contact.

“They lived without people, they are like wild animals,” she said.

She bent down to talk to a small dog that poked its paw through a cage to greet her.

This dog, aged around four, is the most socialised in the centre with no aggression, she said.

“He’s ready for a home, absolutely ready, and he needs it.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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