After the Russian invasion last week, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are fleeing the war-torn country and seeking a safe haven for their families and pets.
Images of devoted pet parents holding their animals close as they take cover in a bomb shelter or navigate the dangerous streets have gone viral on social media. The heartbreaking images show just how much they love their pets.
The next time you hear someone say "I'm moving and can't take my pet with me", show them these photos.
Ukrainians fleeing with their pets. Because family is never left behind.#WeStandWithUkraine 💙💛 pic.twitter.com/xD4ASHpqVk
— Bradford Cat Watch (@BCWRkittens) February 28, 2022
Some people have even left behind their belongings to make sure their most important possession – their pet – is safe. A journalist, Orge Castellano, shared some photos on Twitter that are the definition of unconditional love.
This is what unconditional love looks like. Animals would never forsake us in the face of horror, injustice, and despair. My heart goes out to the pets left behind in Ukraine in shelters and homes across the country. 💔 pic.twitter.com/ft3ptAAetN
— Orge Castellano (@orgecastellano) February 26, 2022
Thankfully, Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia have waived vet papers so refugees can cross the border with their beloved pets.
“The Polish border is open to all Ukrainians,” said Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki. He went on to say they are “welcome to bring their pets with them”.
Romania welcomes Ukrainians and all pets, even those without human guardians. An animal shelter in Romania called Casa lui Patrocle has offered to help people and all species of animals.
“We are in Suchav, 40 kilometers from the border with Ukraine. We will do our best to find solutions to foster, shelter and veterinary care for animals in need, repeat – regardless of the species (dogs, cats, horses, big horned livestock, birds),” they posted on Facebook.
There are volunteers waiting at the borders to help people and their pets find temporary housing and medical care if needed.
Sadly, some dogs and cats are being abandoned at shelters as people flee for their lives – but they are not forgotten. Shelter workers and international rescues are stepping in to help save them.
Network for Animals is supporting Ukraine animal shelters who are doing everything they can to find sanctuary or care for shelter pets. “Animal shelter staff have refused to flee and will not abandon the animals. Wherever they possibly can, they will help the animals left behind, and we will do everything we can to rush aid to them,” posted the charity organization.
Ukrainian soldiers have also been seen caring for dogs and cats and doing their best to keep them safe.
The lives of homeless pets are at risk but rescues like UAnimals are working hard to help feed and care for them.
The shelters are being bombed or in areas with little military support and desperately need pet food and supplies.