Volunteers risk lives to save hundreds of pets from Ukraine since start of war

Volunteers have risked their lives to rescue hundreds of pets from Ukraine since Vladimir Putin ’s invasion started. Animal Rescue Ukraine, which was founded in early March, is one of the organisations bringing animals to safety in neighbouring countries. So far, it has transported 550 animals to a sanctuary in western Poland , where they await adoption.The pets come from shelters across Ukraine and are found via telephone tip-offs or social media inquiries. Despite focusing on animals, the small outfit, which works in collaboration with a larger foundation called Centaurus, has also evacuated more than 3,000 people from Ukraine, including those in need of urgent medical attention.

Be Diligent about Vet Visits. “Don’t wait for the signs,” Dr. Becker stresses. Focus on “prevention first.” Pets age fast, and when it comes to illness they are programmed to mask weakness, “they’re naturally secretive.” One to two visits a year is ideal, but if you suspect a problem, don’t hesitate, and don’t self-diagnose. “In the last two years I’ve seen four or five cases where people went to the internet for help, and by the time they get to the vet it’s too late,” says Dr. Becker.

Patrick Westrup, 31, who co-runs the group, said the organisation also donates food to people in Ukraine. His next trip will be to the northeastern region of Kharkiv, where he plans to drop off hundreds of kilos of horse feed after some owners contacted him to say they could no longer provide for their animals.Speaking to the SWNS news agency, Mr Westrup recalled an earlier journey into Ukraine, which coincided with the Russian forces’ retreat from around Kyiv. “I was there right after the liberation, so the atmosphere was still pretty intense,” he said. “At one of the drop-offs we made, we could hear gunfire in the background, there were small groups of Russian soldiers in the area.”

Keep Them Active. Energy varies between breeds, says Dr. Becker. “Greyhounds, Labs, Golden Retrievers, Jack Russell Terriers, Border Collies, and other active breeds have unfathomable energy.” He continues, “wolves spend 80% of their time awake, moving. With cats, there’s not such an exercise requirement,” but providing outlets for play at home is still crucial. For both cats and dogs he recommends food-dispensing that “recreates the hunt,” and puzzle feeders that engage your pet’s “body and mind.”

Additional reporting by SWNS

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