Olga first found herself abroad in 2012 when she was taking little Polina. Six months before that, Polya and her mother Sveta had come to a friend on a winter holiday to Austria. Suddenly Sveta had a fever and in the hospital, she was shockingly diagnosed – acute leukemia. Olga was helping her friend as best as she could, she was collecting money in Russia for treatment. A month before her death, Sveta was placed in a hospice.
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Sveta called me and said: “That’s all. I can’t take it anymore.” I realized that I urgently needed to fly to pick up Pauline.
Sveta died on September 11.
The same evening Olga and Polina flew to Russia to avoid problems with Austrian guardianship, with Russian guardianship there were plenty of them as well. At the time of custody, Olya had two children of her own, a small apartment, an official salary of maternity ward nurse of the Central City Hospital in Berezovsky and a completed divorce with her ex-husband. However, that was just on paper. In fact, home is measured not by square meters, but by the amount of love. The love and care of all family members were enough for Polina to grow up as a beautiful smiling girl, who brilliantly finished school and enrolled in medical college. Now she is an indispensable assistant at Olga’s shelter for stray cats “Angel with Mustaches”.
Olga got her shelter for stray cats “Angel with Mustaches” 4 years ago. At first, she was just helping with food, but gradually caring for the cats completely fell on her shoulders. Every morning Olga’s route lies through an old wooden house, with the only plastic window in which the lights never go out. With light, cats are much easier to survive the night.
The second time Olga comes for daily cleaning, Yura helps to cope with the treatment and reception of new wards. Well-to-do animals do not get here; all have a difficult fate, and some have severe, incurable diseases.
The cat Bucks was found with his paws taken away, the X-ray showed a bullet in his spine, Bucks would never walk. Because of disability and bladder problems, he should be washed every day, so as not to form bedsores.
Kamysh is washed daily as well because he has problems with the gastrointestinal tract and he needs additional daily hygiene.
Baba Valya sleeps in her favorite bed. Olga took her from a woman with a mental disorder. “Baba Valya lived for 6 years with her paws tied on the floor in the toilet. In the shelter though with difficulty, she started walking. She still sleeps in the habitual pose from many years of being tied,” says Olga.
Old Kira barely walks. She lived 15 years with the owners, but they decided to move and leave Kira in the staircase. “Kira lives out in comfort. She has the usual health problems for an older animal. Right now, there are problems with the gastrointestinal tract, we treat, we put injections, but the main part of the time, she is just an old cat that needs love and affection”.
Finding new owners for such animals is almost impossible. Olya speaks of them with good humor. Otherwise, one can go crazy with pity. Each look of her cats is filled with gratitude for the opportunity to live, receive a portion of care and affection, sleep in warmth and eat specially selected food.
There are much more healthy or recovered cats in the shelter, they joyfully run to meet, rub on the feet, purr and have fun games while Olya and Yura are cleaning. Olga is always in a hurry. After cleaning, she goes to do therapeutic massage, this is her main income, the nurse’s salary is not enough. Nevertheless, even in the hectic and rush, she doesn’t forget to tell every pet a good word and caress.
Dogs sometimes get into the cat shelter, they quickly find a common language with cats. At the time of filming, a puppy was brought to the shelter; unknown people cut off her ears and threw her out into the street.
The financing, finding new homes and treatment of the inhabitants of the “Angel with Mustaches” lies mostly on Olya’s shoulders, and there are enough ordinary everyday difficulties. Older children grew up, got their own families. However, in the evening at home, she is always awaited by Polinа, a beloved man, two dogs, and five cats. In some incomprehensible way, Olya manages to warm everyone.
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