“I want to reassure the people that their animals, even though they can’t be with them, someone is caring for them and there is still hope,” said Tana Axtelle.
EDMONDS, Wash — The massive humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is giving way to another crisis: abandoned animals overloading shelters in Ukraine.
A global effort is underway, including in Snohomish County, to make sure no animal is left behind.
Dan Fine loaded donations of bulletproof vests and helmets into his car that he’ll soon deliver to Ukraine, but they’re not for soldiers. They’re for those fighting to rescue animals caught in the conflict.
“There are a lot of animals sitting there at train stations or shelters that are abandoned and need support,” said Fine.
Millions of Ukrainians have had to abandon their beloved pets as they run for their lives from Russian bombs. Animal shelters are besieged and overflowing.
Fine typically works with therapy dogs. Soon he’ll be working with the Poland-based Ada Foundation which is venturing into Ukraine to rescue endangered animals.
He’s heading to the Poland-Ukraine border to help in whatever way he can.
“What if I was asked to give up my home and to give up all my possessions and then to give up my pet? I think it’s just tragic,” said Fine.
Dan’s friend, Tana Axtelle, is going with him.
She fosters dogs at her Edmonds home and is collecting donations of medicine and vet supplies to bring to Poland.
“I feel sorry for the animals but I also feel sorry for the families that are leaving them behind,” Axtelle said. “My pets are my family. The thought of that happening to me, I just couldn’t imagine.”
The top priority for Ada volunteers is to reunite the lost animals of war with their owners.
At the very least, Dan and Tana hope to simply provide comfort to the animals that have comforted their people for so long.
“I want to reassure the people that their animals, even though they can’t be with them, someone is caring for them and there is still hope,” said Axtelle.
“We’re in a unique situation to be able to help animals,” said Fine. “We’ll do what we can. Everybody should do what they can.”
For information on how you can help, email Dan Fine at [email protected]