Ukrainians are fleeing their country during the Russian invasion, finding safety in Poland and other boarder countries. Many are bringing their pets with them, and the EU has dropped all restrictions so that people and their pets can stay united. Pets can now safely cross the border without showing proof of vaccinations and microchipping, which, given the stakes of the current moment, feels appropriate.

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Fleeing isn’t easy. Fleeing with animals is even more challenging: UAnimals

But some Ukrainians have been unable to leave, having been forced to shelter from Russian attacks in subways. Their dogs and cats – and even fish – have been sheltering with them as well. “Volunteers in shelters and rehabilitation centers will never abandon their animals and will stand until the last,” said nonprofit UA Animals in a Facebook post. UA Animals have been providing financial assistance to animal shelters in Ukraine. 

Photos and videos of Ukrainians sheltering with their pets have gone viral. 

Photo Source: @deborahVonBond

Some pet owners have been so loyal to their fur babies that they refuse to leave Ukraine without them. Dogs, after all, are man’s best friend and, in this way, man is returning the favor.

One such person sheltering within Ukraine’s borders, Indian student, Rishabh Kaushik, has been getting attention for remaining in Ukraine because he’s been unable to take his dog across the border with him. Kaushik is a third-year engineering student at Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics in eastern Ukraine. Kaushik rescued his dog, Malibu, last February in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine, which has been heavily assaulted by Russian forces. 

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“I would have been in India right now had the Indian government given me the required NOC (no objection certificate) as per the laws,” Kaushik says. Instead, he’s hiding with Malibu in a bunker in Kyiv while Russians bombard the city. The underground bunker is freezing, so Kaushik must come up to keep Malibu warm, despite the constant bombing from Russians. Kaushik says that Malibu is crying all of the time because of the constant bombardment. 

 

Photo Source: @viewsdey
Photo Source: @mey_dog

 

“I decided then that if my dog can’t leave, I won’t either,” Rishabh Kaushik said. “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?” His commitment to Malibu is truly inspiring.  

I decided then that if my dog can’t leave, I won’t either.

Rishabh Kaushik

It’s a heartwarming reminder that, even amidst all the chaos, humanity can still extend a hand to our four-legged friends. If you’d like to help Ukrainian pets and their families, here are a few organizations to check out:

DONATE TO THE PET’S OF UKRAINE

Update! We have partnered with Greater Good Charities to help pets and people affected by the crisis in Ukraine. I have personally worked with Greater Good Charities before to hand out bags of food to local dog rescues during the pandemic shutdown. While the situation in Ukraine continues to evolve, Greater Good Charities is working with their partners to make sure that funds are getting to the right groups on the ground in Ukraine. Our goal is to reach $10,000 as soon as possible and we’re well on our way, but we need your help! Please click here to give today and let’s help these pets and families in need.

For even more ways to help people and pets in Ukraine, check out the links below:

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UAnimals – Donation Link here
Happy Paw – Donation Link Here
Shelter Ugolyok – Donation Link Here

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