Ukraine Update - 1 Year On

In March 2022, when war broke out in Ukraine, THE PACK shared links and resources for those looking to help the people and animals whose lives had been turned upside down. Since then, the work of charities and individuals in the region and abroad hasn’t stopped. Our charity partner Underdog International have so far sent 18 trucks full of food, medical, baby and bedding supplies, including over 1,500 animal crates which have been given to families with pets or to shelters with Ukrainian rescue dogs. While Ukraine is in the news less today, people and dogs still need your help! You can keep donating to fund medical bills, pet passports, vaccines, kennelling, batteries and vehicles via Underdog’s website.  PETA Germany has also coordinated a delivery of nearly 20 tonnes of companion animal food as well as blankets to shelters in Ukraine: you can donate to PETA’s Global Compassion Fund to help. 

Since the invasion last year, over two million people have fled the country. Many of these people are pawrents facing the impossible decision of leaving their beloved animals behind. This is because current regulations for bringing companion animals into the EU and the UK are impossible for refugees to follow during wartime. They require that dogs be vaccinated and microchipped and have a test for rabies – and many animals don’t meet the criteria. Thankfully, countries like Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia have all made entry for animals less bureaucratic, so many charities have been helping to get dogs across the border and into safety in these countries, where they are able to offer more support. Please continue to support these charities via the links in our original post, if you can.  

Syria & Turkey

When disaster strikes, our first thought is naturally the human victims. Almost a month ago on 6th February, a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Turkey and Syria, burying thousands of people under layers of rubble and destroying homes and public utilities. THE PACK have been watching in sadness as the human death toll rises to nearly 24,000, following the deadliest quake in the region in two decades. Of course, natural disasters like this have animal casualties too. Many pets will have been killed, badly injured or left homeless and frightened, at risk of starvation without pawrents to care for them. As well as the immediate injury caused by the earthquake, both people and pets are struggling as they face below-freezing temperatures with no place to shelter. How can you help?

  • IFAW, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, is providing emergency support to local animal rescue teams in Turkey and Syria. You can donate here to help provide emergency grants to organisations like Haytap in Turkey and House of Cats Ernesto in Syria, who are carrying out field assessments in the hardest hit areas, rescuing animals from the destruction, and providing emergency aid and veterinary care to injured animals. 
  • PETA’s Global Compassion Fund (GCF) is providing financial support to rescue teams are on the ground in Turkey, their partner organization Vegan Derneği Türkiye distributing dog and cat food, rescue crates, leashes, and other urgently needed supplies through a network of local groups caring for animals in some of the most devastated areas. You can help here.
  • Pets in Turkey (PIT), a Swiss-based organization, has always helped stray pets in Turkey, a situation that has obviously been acerbated by the quake. They’re working with Raise Your Paw to send resources to animals in need, with the help of Turkey-based pet service, Yuuki Dog House & Training. You can help by donating here. PIT have already sent 450kg of dog food, 225kg of cat food, and eight boxes of wet pet food.

The damage to animals isn’t just physical: like humans, pets will be struggling with the trauma of experiencing a disaster situation. What’s more, while human relief agencies are helping people directly, we know that losing a beloved pet also has a huge impact on human emotional welfare. Helping animals in the region is a way to help pawrents too. 

With the right intervention, traumatised and newly-pawrentless dogs can go on to live happy lives: take Barrie, rescued from Syria after a bombing, years before, by a soldier, Sean. Sean heard the puppy crying underneath the rubble of a destroyed school, and found her next to her siblings and mother, all of whom had been crushed in the destruction. He adopted Barrie and fundraised to bring her back to the UK, where she has helped him through his PTSD and become an official therapy dog. You can follow her on Instagram at @barriespaws.

The situation in Syria and Turkey isn’t short term: the region is likely to take a long time to recover and will need our ongoing support. With that in mind, we shouldn’t forget the other ongoing disaster situations that continue to impact pets as well as people. 

As you can see, when disaster hits, our four-legged friends rely on our support, especially when their parents or pawrents are no longer able to provide it. And they can go on to help us too. So let’s not let them down!

We know how important animals are to pawrents and other animal carers, many people refusing to leave them behind despite the threat to their own safety. Every small donation helps prevent this from happening - and might even save a life, two or four-legged.

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