The non-governmental organization Nähtamatud Loomad ("Invisible Animals") recently organized the rescue of shelter animals in Ukraine. After delivering pet food to the Polish-Ukrainian border, the Estonian animal welfare NGO evacuated animals from several Ukrainian shelters alongside 34 human war refugees.
Following a several-days' journey north, 14 dogs and one cat arrived in the Southeastern Estonian city of Võru, where they are currently being cared for in two private homes.
"The animals arrived safely in Estonia and are now currently in quarantine homes, where they will remain for at least 21 days, but most likely longer," Nähtamatud Loomad President Kristina Mering said. "They are under veterinary care there, they have been vaccinated and microchipped, they are receiving needed treatment and care, and they can rest. And then we will begin searching for homes for them in Estonia."
The shelter animal rescue operation was made possible by the support of many donors.
"It's especially great to see that so many people have already shown interest in helping these animals, and are very much cheering on this rescue operation," Mering continued. "Soon enough we'll be able to share more info on [our NGO's] pages regarding the search for homes for these animals so that they can get placed in safe homes where they will be cared for and won't have to think about all the terrible things they have endured."
What kind of shape were these animals in?
"The animals were a little scared and stressed and exhausted, but generally they're pretty happy and looked good; stress does tend to remain hidden," Nähtamatud Loomad coordinator Brigitta Nõmmik said. "They've still endured so much and seen so much and literally reached us through bombardments. Occasionally some patterns of behavior can be observed that betray the fact that they really are somewhat traumatized and stressed, but I believe that these will slowly pass. We're also taking care of them right now to relieve their suffering somewhat."
Nõmmik also acknowledged that certain things should be taken into consideration by these animals' future owners when adopting them.
"These animals have seen and endured quite a lot," she explained. "They will need a great deal of care, peace and quiet initially. It's also very important that if an animal has experienced trauma, one needs to watch for what [the animal] wants at the moment: do they want you to pet or hug them. You cannot force anything onto these animals. Some of them may want to be totally alone, and to not be bothered by anyone. Another may want hugs and pets, and yet others may express themselves by constantly wanting to play and roughhouse."
Around 20,000 refugees from Ukraine are estimated to have reached Estonia by Monday morning.
Editor: Aili Vahtla