Words by Smiley Team
A Staffordshire charity is rescuing and rehoming dogs who would have been left behind in Ukraine.
Paw Help Rescue and Adopt UK in Burton upon Trent has arranged for homeless dogs to be transported to the UK and homed. Manager Elina Olifaruk is originally from Lviv in Ukraine and wanted to do something to help rescue dogs whose owners could not take their pets with them when fleeing the country.
Almost three million people have left Ukraine in the last few weeks and many have had to leave their dogs behind due to fears they won’t be able to cross borders with them.
"They cry and they're heartbroken, but they leave them and ask us to help," said Elina when speaking about the devastation of families leaving their dogs behind.
Elina set up the charity in 2020 as a way to support local dog charities back in her home country, where her family still are.
On March 20, 25 dogs will arrive in the UK and go to foster families while they wait for permanent homes.
The charity has volunteers in Ukraine searching for abandoned dogs, and has a contract with transporters who travel between the two countries to bring the animals to the UK. Transporters who rescued the dogs last week were fearful about working amid the conflict but Elina said that they had "felt the spirit" at the border of Poland, with people "cheering them on".
Local rescue centres in Ukraine rely on public donations and will struggle to rehome dogs due to the sheer volume of abandoned pets and the lack of homes able to take them in locally. European countries including the UK are starting to loosen the rules around bringing pets across borders, with the UK government set to announce a waiving of the requirement of a pet passport or health certificate to bring in pets.
Many families have already had to leave their dogs and cats behind in Ukraine at the start of the conflict, so charities like Elina’s will continue to be a lifeline.
Click through to support or donate to the charity.
Underdog International: London-based charity Underdog International raised £35,000 to support Ukrainian refugees’ pets arriving in Romania, and created an online wishlist which included “pet food, medical kits for animals and for humans and baby nappies”, resulting in 2,000 packages in 48 hours.
Paws and Whiskers: This animal rescue charity in Sussex joined forces with other animal charities to transport abandoned pets from Ukraine, to Romania and then on to the UK. The animals will be rehabilitated in Sussex and then found new homes.
PETA: Global charity PETA have rescued over 600 dogs and cats from Ukraine and brought them across the border into Poland.
Individual heroics: A man from Guildford travelled to the Ukraine border to deliver pet supplies to animal sanctuaries, and plans to bring as many animals as he can back across the border into Poland.