Ukrainians are taking shelter with their beloved pets and refusing to leave the country without them

When Russian missiles started bombing Ukraine’s cities, hundreds of thousands of residents rushed to flee the war-torn country, bringing with them their beloved pets.

In photos circulating online, Ukrainians demonstrated that nothing—not even war—could separate them from their animal companions.

Despite power outages, bombings, and flying bullets they continue to provide care for the animals under their care. These groups require all the help they can, as their food, water, or medicine supplies continue to run low.

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Ukrainians fleeing chaos hide in subway stations, which double as bomb shelters. This keeps their furry friends warm and cozy under blankets and coats, despite the freezing temperatures outside.

Others were carrying both pet carriers as well as their belongings in their suitcases. But some evacuees who couldn’t carry both ditched their suitcases to bring their dogs and cats instead.

A sleeping dog with her owners taking shelter from the war
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Rishabh, a third year computer engineering student at Kharkiv National University (eastern Ukraine), declined the chance to fly home from Dehradun, India because the airline would not allow his dog Maliboo on board.

“I decided then that if my dog can’t leave, I won’t either,” the 23-year-old told the Times of India, Newsweek reported. “I know that there is (a) risk in staying on but I can’t just abandon him. Who will take care of him if I go?”

Ukrainian woman fleeing with her pet cats
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“I have my family members to take care of me. Maliboo’s family is mine, however. Nobody will take care of him if I leave him here,” he added.

According to the Happy Paw Foundation several animals have died due to heart attacks from the battles. Others were also injured by bullets.

To help Ukrainians fleeing with pets, neighbouring countries Poland, Romania and Slovakia are welcoming them.

Dog taking shelter from the war with people
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Unlike the airline that banned Kaushik’s dog from flights, these countries have relaxed their requirements for entry.

They won’t ask owners for proof of vaccinations, microchips, or blood tests. Depending on the situation some animals may need to be quarantined for a few more weeks.

“We have been deeply moved by accounts of people walking enormous distances with their animals in their arms,” the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals in the UK said in a statement.

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Volunteers and animal rescue organizations in these countries are trying to find new ways to help. In Romania, the Casa Lui Patrocle animal rescue organization announced through a Facebook post that it would help refugees’ pets by providing shelter and veterinary assistance to any animal brought into the country.

Here are some organizations that can help Ukrainian evacuees with their pets.

Ukrainian woman evacuating with her pet dog
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Vet saves the day

This group has been supporting, sheltering, and caring for the refugees and their animals since the Russian military invasion in Ukraine. They also transport supplies to shelters in Ukraine. You can make a donation to Saved by the Vet using PayPal or order items from their Amazon wishlist.

International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW).

IFAW has been working closely with partner shelters in Donetsk (Ukraine) to provide funding for pet food and staff, as well as supplies for vets and wages. World Central Kitchen, a charity that provides hot meals to Ukrainian evacuees living in Poland and five Ukrainian towns, has received $50,000 from the group. Donate to IFAW today.

UAnimals

UAnimals is currently collecting donations for animal shelters that are starving due to the Russian invasion. So far, they have helped shelters in Ukraine. Donate to this organization.

A cat in Ukraine
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Happy Paw

Happy Paw is currently collecting data about the shelters in Ukraine and the urgent needs of these shelters. Donate to this charity today.

Shelter Ugolyok

This Ukrainian animal rescue center and farm sanctuary is stocking up wartime food supplies for the hundreds of animals they take care of. Shelter Ugolyok is having difficulty transporting supplies because it is so close to the bombings. Help them by donating via Paypal (pawsofhelp@outlook.com), Venmo (pawsofhelp), and Patreon or Fundrazr.

Sirius

Sirius is the largest shelter for animals in Ukraine and they need your help. They have pledged to keep the place their home for their animals. You can help Sirius by visiting their website.

These accounts demonstrate that the bond between humans and animals remains unbreakable—even in the worst of times.

Please share this story for more people to send money to these organizations.