Ukraine. How the rescued animals are faring after the destruction of the Kherson Dam

Three months after the destruction of the Kherson dam in Ukraine, here is an update about the dogs we helped to save.

Just over three months have passed since the Kherson dam in Ukraine was destroyed. After the initial emergency response phase, during which time we supported our partners who were involved in animal rescue operations, it was critical to ensure they received the care and assistance they needed.

Many of the dogs and cats rescued from the water were traumatized and badly poisoned by the oil and chemicals that covered their fur as they desperately tried to swim to safety.

The lucky ones, like Bagheera and Henry, are making a slow but sure recovery.

How Bagheera is coping after undergoing physiotherapy

Il cane Baghira salvato dopo l'esplosione della diga di Kherson

Bagheera moments after he was rescued

The photo of Bagheera clinging to the volunteers who brought him to dry land quickly became a symbol of the Kherson tragedy. Our partner Anna Kurkurina, with whom we have been working for several months, found him cowering under a canopy in water up to his neck. Bagheera struggled to stand up on his hind legs, and it was clear right away that he would need lengthy care and treatment.

Read More: The stories of the animals we saved after the destruction of the Kherson dam

Baghira dopo mesi di fisioterapia

Bagheera after months of physiotherapy

One of our other of our partners stepped up to help: Lyudmila created a special space in her Odessa shelter especially for Bagheera, where he could recover and receive the physiotherapy he badly needed, for which we covered the costs. Because of the severity of his injuries, it is unlikely that he will ever fully recover, but Lyudmila’s shelter has rescued him in every sense of the word, and he is now waiting for a family to adopt him.

Henry has been adopted

degli animali salvati a Kherson dopo la distruzione della diga coperto di petrolio

Henry was covered in oil when he was rescued

The case of Henry, another symbolic example of the dogs saved during those tragic days, also tells a similar story. Our partner Zhanna had found him huddled at the side of a waterlogged building, completely covered in oil and other toxic substances. “He was just standing there stock-still, whimpering helplessly. It was only when we got closer to him that we realized he was blind. The flood had destroyed everything around him, and there was nowhere for him to go”, she told us.

That moment, captured in a video taken by one of Zhanna’s co-workers, quickly spread worldwide, and was seen by Anya, a Ukrainian woman who has lived in Poland for several years. Appalled by what she saw, Anya immediately decided to track Henry down and offer him temporary shelter. “It was heart-breaking to watch the video of him being rescued. Henry was old and blind and needed someone to love him after everything he had been through. So I decided to look for him,” she told us.

Read More: We have sterilized more than 800 animals in Ukraine

She succeeded in tracing him back to the clinic where he had been hospitalized and following news of his progress. It was feared for a long time that Henry might not make it, but he slowly regained his strength day by day and even his skin began to improve. As soon as he was strong enough, he joined Anya in Poland.

In the weeks he has spent with her, Henry’s health improved more and more, and his morale has increased accordingly. Then the phone call came that everyone had been waiting for: a family has stepped forward and offered to adopt him.

Henry will stay with Anya for a while longer to allow him to recuperate as much as possible, but as soon as he is ready, he will leave to join his new family.

Henry in foster care