Relief aid in Ukraine during the winter months

A family weaves its way through the crowd. The mother, father and three children are wearing heavy jackets, hats, scarves and gloves. They are so covered up that they find it difficult to walk. In their arms they are holding tightly onto their animals: two small dogs and three cats. The mother strokes one of the cats, clutching him to her. “Spasiba, thank you”, they all say, as they watch the person filming the scene. At their feet is a purple bag stuffed with pet food. This is just a fraction of the shipment sent to Ukraine by Save the Dogs thanks to the support of our donors.

Over the past few months, we have sent more than 400,000 kilograms of food all over the country. To give you an idea of the total amount we were able to dispatch, picture 20 truckloads of supplies standing next to each other. The number of animals living out on the streets skyrocketed during the summer period and the ongoing warfare prevented us from organizing any sterilization campaigns. Volunteers and local inhabitants have found themselves faced with an increasingly desperate situation.

Regardless of much food we manage to send, the requests we are receiving are always the same: we need more. So we carry on doing the best we can.

As well as the lack of food, the freezing weather is also a major problem: the animals on the streets, in the shelters and even the luckiest ones who still have a family to care for them have to cope with the sharp decrease in the temperature, which in some areas of the country has seen the thermometer drop many degrees below zero. In addition, because of the bombardments many places have no electricity supplies at all and therefore have no possibility of getting any sources of heat.

In the month of December alone, we managed to send more than 150 thermo-insulated kennels, as well as hundreds of animal coats and blankets for their owners. Conscious of the huge numbers of stray dogs currently roaming the streets, we have already ordered another 300 kennels that we will dispatch to Mykolaiv and Kharkiv just as soon as they are ready.

In the meantime, people and animals are continuing to withstand the difficulties together. Volunteers are meeting in safe areas of the city so that they can sort out and distribute our consignments. Long queues of people stand in line waiting to receive the provisions. Some are accompanied by their dogs. Some hold tightly to the bag they need to fill with food. It is so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. The only word to be heard whispered from time to time is “Spasiba, thank you”.