In the weeks before the start of the war, when Ukrainians still did not fully believe that this could happen, social networks were filled with either jokes or quite serious worries about how to save their pets. Remember all those photos of “disturbing suitcases with cats”? People were seriously worried that, according to outdated legislation, it would not be possible to take animals into air raid shelters. Also, people were afraid that other “inhabitants” of the shelters would be against the animals.
But no, when the war did start, people rushed to save their pets. On the first day, many took a minimum of things to the shelter, but they took their animals and food for them. If you look at the photos from each shelter, then about half of the “residents” brought animals with them. There are dogs here – from very small to huge, there are cats, there are rabbits, chinchillas, guinea pigs, hamsters. In general, many people go to the vaults precisely because they want to protect their pets.
Most often, people do not leave their pets even when leaving the city and even abroad. Our neighbors from the shelter, who later decided to leave for the West, left some personal belongings and food, but the carriers with two cats were taken away. Moreover, fortunately, many European countries, including neighboring ones, have allowed Ukrainians to cross the border with pets, even if they do not have vaccinations and documents.
A resident of Mariupol with a dog in his arms after the shelling on February 24, 2022
A resident of Donetsk takes a dog out of a house that came under fire from the Ukrainian side on February 28, 2022
Natalya, a resident of Kyiv, her cat, and four dogs are waiting for a train to be evacuated to the west of Ukraine on March 1, 2022
A resident of Kharkiv is trying to calm the cat. During the shelling, he and thousands of Kharkiv residents hide in the subway.
A refugee with a dog in her arms arrived at the train station in Lviv to leave Ukraine. March 1, 2022
Hungarian police keep a dog that came to the border with refugees. March 1, 2022
A couple and their dogs sit in the underground car park of a hotel in Kyiv that is being used as a bomb shelter.
16-year-old Leo and his dog sleep for the second day at a metro station in Kyiv, along with their family and other citizens.
A woman with a cat in hiding during Russian shelling in Mariupol. February 24, 2022