This is a story about stray dogs in Sochi. This happened in spring 2015, I was spending winter in that wonderful place. There were a lot of stray dogs in the streets of Sochi. I always had some dog’s food with me and gave it to them at any chance. Once I decided to find out if there were any organizations which help homeless dogs. So I came across a dogs’ shelter named ‘Bim’. This shelter is not enclosed territory on a hill some distance away from the city where there’s almost no transportation.

At that time there were about 60 dogs in that shelter, so it took me 2 days to take a picture for each. It terrified me to observe the situation in the shelter: all the dogs were barking, the conditions were poor. Close to that one there was another shelter, it could contain 200 dogs and they were barking too. Their barking was like ringing in my ears and the idea of how to take pictures of the dogs disagreed with reality. After first attempts I started to think that it would come to nothing since some dogs behaved strange, I could say even not adequate. The dogs had to be carried in hands as their legs gave way because of leaving their enclosure. I wanted to take various shots so that it was more interesting to look at them, but it turned out a great task. Being on a small open space under the scorching sun it seemed almost impossible to take different pictures of dogs who couldn’t stand on their legs even 5 seconds.

They were carried in hands to the place, I took some shots and then they were carried away. While I was choosing another spot for the photo shoot a new dog was brought there. Thanks to volunteers Nastia and Gena who helped me with this. Gena is the person who lives with these dogs. It’s amazing how he can live on that hill without any facilities, food supplies and water. He cooks porridge of expired cookies on fire for the dogs, cleans their enclosure and listens to their bark day and night. ‘I’ll also start barking soon’ – joked Gena. On the second day of the photo shoot I brought some water for Gena and meat for the dogs. I came up to the dogs and gave a piece of meat to each. I cannot describe their reaction they were so happy as if it was Christmas time. That was a Saturday afternoon and in the shelter there were tens of people. All of them were volunteers. Boys were carrying boards and girls were making new cages and dog kennels out of those boards. I was impressed with such courage ’cause you can never find a girl with an axe in the city.

There were even those who just came to walk the dogs. These dogs seldom have a chance to leave their shelter and have a good walk with a human being, and it’s such a happiness for them. So, friends, help stray dogs, please.

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