Following the invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces, millions of Ukrainians have fled the country, seeking refuge across borders. Forced to leave their lives behind, many have been faced with the difficult decision to leave their pets behind. For those few people who have managed to bring their beloved dogs with them, it hasn’t been easy.
Dogs Displaced by Russian Invasion
In Poland, Ukrainian dogs have been barred from entering local shelters for fear of disease spreading to the local population. The outlook has been grim, with few resources available to care for displaced animals.
Anxious to help, philanthropist, Polish native, and founder of Planting Peace Aaron Jackson flew home from Florida, just days after the invasion began. Jumping into action, Jackson began coordinating efforts to care for and rehome dogs displaced by the crisis. Overwhelmed by the number of dogs in need, Jackson located and received permission to use an abandoned animal shelter.
The first dogs to arrive came by van, transported by two refugees working with an overwhelmed Ukrainian shelter. Though the 17 dogs had endured a rough journey, and the women transporting them had no money, it was immediately obvious that these dogs loved these women.
A Tale of Bravery
Using a translator, Jackson discovered that the women were a mother and daughter duo with a life-long passion for dogs. During the best of times, they had cared for stray dogs and kept pets of their own, so when it became apparent that Russia would invade, they knew they could not abandon their four-legged friends.
The day before the invasion, the pair had rounded up their puppies, and made their way to a bomb shelter. The daughter, last name Liscratenko, also made provisions for a group of adult dogs who lived in and around the local factory where she worked as a guard. During the first days of the invasion, Liscratenko and her mother ran back and forth from the shelter to the factory to feed the dogs. Eventually, the route became too dangerous.
Having gained their trust, Liscratenko managed to gather most of the dogs and run them back to the bomb shelter with her. Moments after the last of the pups had made it inside, Liscratenko recalls a shell exploding in the exact spot they had just been.
The 2 women and 17 dogs spent 40 days together in the shelter, only surfacing once their water supply became contaminated. Aided by a local shelter, Liscratenko and her mother got a van, and the invitation from Jackson to bring the dogs to Poland.
Immediately seeing just how bonded the dogs were to the Liscratenkos, and touched by the story of their bravery, Jackson hired the mother-daughter duo to help care for the other dogs arriving at the shelter.
To date, Planting Peace has rescued more than 300 dogs from the Ukrainian crisis, aided by brave people like the Liscratenkos.