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These People In Ukraine Have Dedicated Their Lives To Helping Unfortunate Animals All Across Their Country
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These People In Ukraine Have Dedicated Their Lives To Helping Unfortunate Animals All Across Their Country


It has been one year since the war in Ukraine began and we started our mission of helping animals who were displaced, abandoned, neglected, or injured from it (see previous posts on Bored Panda regarding that by clicking here, and here). It is estimated that approximately 1 million animals have been badly affected and are now without housing since the war broke out.

Through my organization, The Red Shed, we have been fortunate to connect with real Ukrainians who are on the ground helping to save as many animal lives as possible. Along the way, we have learned about the struggles of these selfless individuals who have sacrificed and given their best efforts to keep as many animals as possible fed, sheltered, and taken care of in extremely difficult circumstances.

These are the ‘underdogs,’ excuse the pun. They are under the radar of the larger animal welfare institutes and organizations because they are too small, but in our eyes, they are legendary. The Red Shed helped as much as we could by providing funds, support, food, transportation, rehoming, and veterinary care. But the TRUE brave souls are the Ukrainians who have never given up on these animals.

If you would like to get in touch, you can email me directly at: For more information about donations, click here.

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A year ago, we started helping animals in Ukraine with the help of local heroes who ensure no animal is left hungry, cold, or in pain while the war continues

These volunteers have refused to leave the animals without care or aid, and some have even built their own mini ‘shelters’ to keep a roof over the heads of those animals who have no home. These are REAL Ukrainians on the ground who have taken in displaced animals or constructed a ‘makeshift’ shelter to take in multiple dogs and cats with nowhere to go.


All of the volunteers in this story have struggled through a harsh winter, electricity and power outages, food rations, and most importantly, not knowing when this war will end, as it nears its one-year anniversary. I personally think every single person who, in the face of war, has been kind enough to help a distressed animal keep safe, warm, and fed deserves the highest praise!

Thank you to ALL of the rescuers across Ukraine who don’t make the big headline news, but in their towns and villages are champions to those animals they love.

Meet Olena, who now has 88 dogs in her shelter, up from 32 last year. All of these dogs were abandoned or neglected strays that came to her during the war

She struggles daily with the care of them on her own but has vowed to us, “I will never, ever leave them. They are my dogs and I love them all now”

She starts her day at 7:00 a.m. until midnight feeding, taking care of and cleaning out the kennels of all 88 canines


There is barely enough dog food to go around, so she buys bulk bags of oats and makes porridge to feed all of the dogs.

From midnight until 2:00 a.m., she spends time with the puppies. There are a LOT of puppies born here. Her shelter is too small for all of those dogs and sometimes the puppies get sick with parvovirus and need to be quarantined; which is nearly impossible.

Olena also takes care of soldiers’ dogs for them when they are assigned to the Dnipro area. We are trying to help her source a better plot of land to build a new permanent shelter away from the main Dnipro area of attack. This will mean that the dogs, particularly the puppies, will be better-taken care of and less sickness among them.

Olena cooks up large batches of oatmeal and porridge to help keep all of the dogs fed and nourished throughout the winter

Here she is with a recent shipment of food (and new wheelbarrow) to help feed all of the pups who have been left to her

“I love these dogs like they are all of my own, even if they came to me from strangers or were abandoned here. They are part of me and my life now,” she told us


Valentyna, founder of an eco-luggage bag company, now dedicates all her time to animal rescue work across multiple regions in Ukraine since the war began


She has been helping Red Shed put together shipments of food for delivery to animal rescuers in need

Valentyna has been a huge help to The Red Shed in connecting us with smaller, unknown shelters or individual rescuers as she has been contacted by multiple individuals who ask for help with food or medicines for dogs and cats.

The Red Shed was able to donate the van to the shelter she volunteers at (thanks to Bored Panda) to help them safely rescue injured animals

She has been on many rescue missions with this van for ‘Save the Lives’ shelter of Khmelnytskyi.

“Motion is life, and the most important thing is to never stop trying to do as many good deeds as possible”


Pictured are Valentyna’s chinchillas she rescued from one of her missions in Kharkiv.

Eugene, a former concert promoter in Ukraine for 12 years, was planning to resume his work after the pandemic, but then the invasion happened which left his future uncertain

He joined animal rescue volunteer teams in early March after seeing an ad, and soon realized how the war was going to displace helpless animals in need of human aid

In one particular occupation of Russian military, an animal shelter in Borodianka had only 150 animals survive out of 485 in total.

He noticed that many cats were not being taken in as much as dogs were and from this moment, he vowed to set up a shelter for cats

Eugene adores every single one of them and has worked so hard to ensure they are all taken care of, especially those who need urgent veterinary attention


He fights daily to improve the conditions of shelters around him and for his own so that it eases the suffering of innocent animals caught in this war zone

“I miss my old job, but I love my new one,” he said to us

Volunteers at the Planet Dog shelter in Vinnytsia from the area who REFUSED to leave any of the animals

The city of Vinnytsia did not get bombed like other cities, which meant that many people fled there with animals they rescued or pets were dumped there when people left Ukraine. It was considered a ‘safe’ place to bring animals.

The small shelter is now overcrowded and not financed at all, only by the volunteers out of their personal salaries or pensions.

When possible, they sterilize and rehome as many animals as they can.

Natalia is a volunteer at this shelter which went from taking care of 100 dogs to nearly 400

Pictured is one of the volunteers chopping firewood to heat the shelter and cook food in Vinnytsia

“We thank our new friends outside of Ukraine who try to help us take care of these animals”

Photographed is Katya in a shelter in Vinnytsia helping a little furry friend feel safe.

Konstantyn in Tokarivka, Kherson does not have a shelter, but he helps his elderly parents who have taken in 15 dogs and 30 cats

The said animals have been taken to his parents’ home after they were left behind in the last attack in their village.

Pictured are Konstantyn and his father.

His parents are on a small state pension each, so Konstantyn pays for food and some medicines out of his own personal money

With nearly 50 mouths to feed every day, it is getting much more difficult but he has promised his parents that he will help them as much as possible

They help any animal who comes to them be hungry, cold or in pain. Shelters such as ‘Save the Lives’ have helped send bags of food to him when they can

“It makes me happy to help the animals my parents want to help for as long as I can do that,” Konstantyn shared

Sergii and Liza are a couple from Kharkiv who have been around horses all of their lives and own a stable in Kharkiv. Sergii is a veterinarian and Liza is a rider

Due to the war, the couple had to evacuate their horses as well as others. The two of them are also a part of the “Ukraine Horse Rescue Mission”

Most horses they rescued were in the Zolochiv, Dergachivkiy district of Kharkiv, located 2km from the front line.

It was a difficult and arduous journey. Liza and Sergii helped many owners of horses who had traveled on foot for more than 48 hours looking for help and immediate evacuation of their animals.

They had to hide in the bushes and trees with horses for safety waiting for trucks to come and load up the horses.

One of the most dangerous rescue missions was at the front line where the horses were loaded into boxes whilst bombs and shelling happened nearby.

It was extremely stressful on both the animals and the humans because as one horse gets nervous, the whole herd panics, and it made the rescue take several hours to complete.

There have been a lot of barricades set up that meant many large horse boxes cannot make it through the tracks, so they use smaller ones that take a lot longer to reach safety.

Liza and Sergii are part of the larger Ukraine Horse Rescue Mission, which Red Shed has supported, and they continue to help those in Kharkiv and further as much as possible when strikes or raids occur.

“We thank God that we have been able to do this. Luckily the horses and volunteers are arriving safely at their destinations, but we do not know if tomorrow or the next day will be a different story”

Krystyna (on the left) was not working in animal rescue full-time before the war. She only had a few cats and dogs at home, with a rat and a rabbit

However, once the war began, she began to help on a much larger scale

“Many had notes on them with a request not to feed them. This is one of the strongest and most painful memories for me. Many people saw what I was doing and turned to me for help and I never refused”

“I spend so much time just traveling the streets feeding homeless and stray animals deserted here from the war. It is very sad” She shared at the end


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emilyroth avatar
Monarch cat lady
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How can I help? I don't have alot and I also rescue but I only have 10 cats right now. What can I do?

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emilyroth avatar
Monarch cat lady
Community Member
1 year ago DotsCreated by potrace 1.15, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2017

How can I help? I don't have alot and I also rescue but I only have 10 cats right now. What can I do?

Load More Comments
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