Save the Dogs and other Animals is Romania’s leading animal welfare organization. The organization was founded in 2002 to promote a culture in Romania where people recognize the importance of animal welfare in their communities and where the inhumane killing of stray dogs stops. Save the Dogs and other Animals provides free sterilization and treatment for animals living in the streets and living as free-roaming members of their communities. The organization recently rescued 30 dogs from a war-damaged shelter in Ukraine, provides supplies and other support for refugees crossing from Ukraine to Romania, sends pet food to animal shelters in Ukraine, and provides supplies for refugees at Bucharest airport. When appropriate, dogs and cats are rehomed through an international adoption program. The facilities in Cernavoda, Romania, typically have around 120 dogs, 40 cats, 60 donkeys, and 20 horses.
In its Ukraine response, they’ve sent more than 400 tons of pet food to shelters and volunteers who feed street dogs and cats, and continue to send more as funds to purchase more food is received. They’ve helped more than 400 refugees’ pets and given away more than 300 pet carriers and hundreds of other pet supplies. They rescued 30 dogs from a Ukrainian shelter damaged by a Russian attack.
A family in shock, comprising a grandmother, a mother, and her teenage son, arrived at Romania’s border point at Isaccea, chilled to the bone and accompanied by their dachshund named Odessa.
They had escaped from the besieged city of Mykolaiv. Their home has been razed to the ground. They are safe, but they have nothing left. After arriving at the border with Romania, they were given food and shelter at the relief aid center installed there by the Romanian authorities. The Save the Dogs and other Animals team provided them with a dog coat for Odessa, food, and an animal carrier. It was an emotional moment for the family to witness everyone’s solidarity with their plight and the compassion shown for their pet.
Many people have chosen to flee with their animals before bomb attacks prevent them from leaving Ukraine. This scenario was the case for Helena, a young girl who came to our relief station to ask us to help her and her dog. Helena was the only person to escape Kherson. Her family is still stranded, now prevented from leaving the city because of the fighting that is taking place.
Helena is traveling solo with her dog Kuzma, the only member of the family still with her. Helena needed a pet carrier to carry on her journey to a safe haven, which we were able to provide along with some food supplies and a dog blanket. It is incredible that for animals like Kuzma, their survival can depend on a simple thing like a pet carrier, which is essential so that they and their owners can continue their onward journey by plane, bus, or train. This accessory is such an everyday item, but it can make all the difference in the world for those who have lost everything.
“Thank you so much for helping animals during this difficult time. I did not find help for the animals to evacuate, so we stayed at shelter. Your help is a salvation for us”
From Gregg Tully, Country Director, Romania:
I’m on the road heading back to Romania from Odessa, making our way through military checkpoints amid snow flurries. The scale of the problems facing animals was hard to absorb. For a long time, Ukraine has had a lot of street dogs and cats and a lack of proper animal shelters and animal nonprofits, but the war and the resulting shortages of money, electricity, and water have broken whatever systems were in place for caring for the animals. I’ve lived in areas with huge numbers of street dogs, but I’ve never experienced such a feeling of helplessness among the volunteers who dedicate their time to rescuing and caring for the animals. Again and again, they told us they decided to stay in Ukraine, even in devastated cities like Mykolaiv, because they couldn’t leave the cats and dogs to starve or freeze.
This trip made me confident that the food, blankets, dog houses, and other support that you make possible are making a vital impact. Almost all the volunteers we met said Save the Dogs is basically the only organization providing any support to them. They fund their shelters and pay for spay/neuter surgeries and vet treatment out of their own pockets, and wait for our next delivery of pet food.