Images of Ukrainians fleeing with their pets capture the chaos, fear and uncertainty facing hundreds of thousands of people as they seek refuge in neighboring countries.
Some have fled only with the clothes on their backs and with their loved ones in their arms hoping to find a safe place to shelter.
Some are huddling in subway stations as missile strikes bombard the city streets above them.
Subways in Kyiv pic.twitter.com/qOvRdlI86G
— Deborah Von Brod (@DeborahVonBrod) February 25, 2022
Ukrainians fleeing with their pets 🐾 pic.twitter.com/hdTSPQAcNh
— Deborah Von Brod (@DeborahVonBrod) February 24, 2022
As they flee to the borders, all are facing an uncertain future.
That’s why many animal organizations in Europe and abroad are actively spreading the message to Ukrainians that they can bring their pets and be allowed to cross the border and that they not to leave their pets behind if they are able to bring them.
The Czechoslovakian-based Pet Heroes is letting it be known that Poland, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia are allowing animals without documents (namely their rabies vaccination status) saying “everything can be done at the border” and asking Ukrainians not to leave their animals behind.
Pets may have to be quarantined for a few days before receiving the necessary paperwork (or pet passport), but the animals will be let through the borders with their families and kept safe. Pet Heroes is also offering to help refugees and their pets once they are in the country.
Rescue organizations in neighboring Romania are also offering to help. Savas Safe Haven writes, “In the context of the crisis situation in Ukraine, our shelter will act with all its powers and facilities to help the families who will take refuge in Romania, especially in our region. We will take care of the animals of these families (dogs, cats, or other small animal).”
Casa lui Patrocle – Animal Rescue in Romania is also providing help to refugees and their pets.
In the UK, small rescue groups like DogBus are sharing information to Ukrainian pet owners and animal advocates as it comes available.
In North America, the animal aid community is also mobilizing and connecting with animal rescues and shelters in Ukraine, but it will take some time due to the crisis situation in Ukraine.
As for animal shelters and rescuers in Ukraine, some are choosing to stay with their animals.
Sirius is also one such group that has been caring for stray animals in Kyiv for over 20 years. Sirius announced on Instagram, “We are in place. We are not going to run! We must believe in our country and our defenders!” Their website is here.
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Happy Paw out of Kyiv is also helping to coordinate aid and supplies to the many shelters throughout Ukraine.