Saving our furry friends: How two Polish charities are risking their lives to rescue animals from Ukraine
The Dioz charity and the ADA Foundation, located in Przemysl, a Polish city just 30 minutes away from the border of Ukraine, have been sending their volunteers and staff on daily trips to evacuate stray and injured animals who have been left behind
The war continues to ravage Ukraine on Day 20, putting the lives of millions at risk.
In the midst of this panic and chaos, many people have made tremendous sacrifices to take their beloved pets along with them. Who can forget the Indian student, Rishab Kaushik, who refused to leave Ukraine without his dog, or even Dr Girikumar Patil in Severodonetsk in the Donbas region, who refused to leave without his two pet big cats — a panther and a leopard?
However, not everyone has been fortunate and have been forced to leave behind their furry friends. As a result, there are some animals who have been left behind in the middle of the chaos.
But all hope is not lost. As we have been reminded time and time again, there are good Samaritans everywhere.
This time around too, there is a band of volunteers and veterinarians — part of the ADA foundation, and Dioz charity — who have been risking their lives to ensure the safety of the animals stuck in the conflict.
All about ADA and Dioz groups
ADA Foundation has been operating for 30 years in Przemysl, a Polish city just 30 minutes away from the border of Ukraine.
The charity normally gives shelter to abandoned animals like cats, dogs, goats, and even bears. But their priority now is to provide food and medical assistance to pets evacuated from Ukraine.
Since the beginning of the Ukrainian conflict on 24 February, they have treated over 300 animals brought in from Lviv. Once these animals arrive in Poland, they are subject to quarantine, as most of them need to be vaccinated and registered with some in need of treatment for wounds and dehydration.
Dioz is another non-profit animal rescue service, which has dedicated its services to save the lives of stranded pets caught up in the war, making regular runs into the country to safely transport pets out of harm's way.
How they have been helping in the war?
The two organisations have been working round-the-clock to ensure the safety of abandoned animals.
In many instances, the staff and volunteers are risking their lives driving into Ukraine to help empty out shelters, and they are offering space and veterinary services for the animals that refugees cannot keep with them or carry over the border.
Konrad Kuzminski, the CEO of Dioz, said, “It hurts me so much to see these animals suffering, and people sometimes forget about pets at times of war, which I, suppose, is a natural consequence.”
Kuzminski and his colleagues have been working non-stop to ensure the safety of animals left to navigate the dangers of war.
He says that he has been forced to spend some nights in his rescue van after his efforts kept him out past the imposed curfew.
Dr Radoslaw Fedaczynski, a 42-year-old vet, from the ADA Animal is another Good Samaritan, who has been working hard to save animals affected by the conflict.
Dr Fedaczynski shares how “distressing” it is for all of the workers willing for these animals to fight, when they have nothing left in them.
He says that some of the animals are beyond help by the time they’re brought to safety, but he doesn’t refuse treatment to any of them.
Recently, a woman from Ukraine brought them a poor, broken tiny goat. The goat, Sasha, would have starved to death if they had left him in Ukraine.
The team at ADA has been helping Sasha, who has a problem with his legs, and his front legs are bound with gauze tape.
Once treated and nursed back to health, the charitable organisations put them up for adoption.
Authorities in Poland have made it possible for refugees fleeing with their pets to enter the country without vaccinations, microchip and blood test.
Animal charity PeTA UK said: “We strongly urge people not to leave their animals behind. Just like humans fleeing from war, companion animals will be scared and stressed and depending on their human guardians for comfort and security.”
With inputs from agencies
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