When my pawrents came back from Chernobyl, Ukraine, in the summer and told me about all the stray canines out there I was very sad.
Like lots of other human visitors to the region, mum and dad thought that Chernobyl and the exclusion zone would be totally deserted. So they were very surprised to find out that 7,000 people work there and some estimated 1,000 stray dogs live within the area.
So where do these stray dogs come from? In April 1986 when Unit 4 reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant exploded it sent radioactive materials into the environment. The humans in the area were evacuated and a 30 km exclusion zone was set up around the power plant. Pets and domestic animals were not allowed to leave – they were abandoned! Afterwards, soldiers of the Soviet Army were sent in to kill all the animals; however, some escaped and the dogs living in the zone are the direct descendants of once loved family members.
Now I am an extremely lucky and privileged doggy! I have a nice warm home, plenty of doggy chunks, comfortable duvets to snuggle up in and a loving family. I am truly blessed but my Ukrainian mates are not so lucky. Most of them do not have enough food to eat, no proper beds to lie in, no medical care, and they are often at the mercy of wolves who live in the woods. Life expectancy is short so very few dogs survive past the age of 6 years. They are malnourished and have been exposed to rabies and with another harsh cold Ukraine winter fast approaching I am very concerned about their plight!
It is thought that the only reason they have survived so far is because of the humans working in the area who are feeding them, offering shelter and playing with them. My mum and dad couldn’t believe it when they saw the doggies hanging around the canteen at the Chernobyl power plant. They were waiting around for scraps of food and human companionship, and from what they saw it looks like the humans working there are compassionate to their situation and don’t mind them loitering outside. Some of the workers try to help by buying medicines and vaccines but it’s very hard for them as supplies are scarce and very expensive.
If the workers are going to continue interacting with the doggies then vaccinations against diseases such as rabies is vital; they need to ensure that there are no risks so that diseases do not spread. Also the dogs need to be neutered and spayed as this will help reduce the population, thus improving their welfare. This is because their chances of survival are greatly reduced if numbers increase, due to lack of food and shelter in the extremely cold winters.
After listening to what mum and dad said I did some research and found out that some very nice humans from The Clean Futures Fund have set up a new 3 year project called ‘Dogs of Chernobyl’ which is aimed at looking after our four legged friends. Teams of trained vets, nurses and volunteers are being sent to the area to spay, neuter, vaccinate and provide medical care for the stray dogs living in the zone and for all you cat lovers…..don’t worry, treatment is available for them as well!
How you can help!
Get active in the project and share this information with your friends by email and social media.
If you have contacts who work with or for animals, reach out and tell them about the Chernobyl Dogs Project and ask them to visit The Clean Futures Fund Website.
Please make a donation at the ‘Save the dogs of Chernobyl’ go fund me page.
If anyone would like to send cards, care packages, or private donations for the Chernobyl dogs and the men and women who take care of them, please contact CFF for more information.
Woofs Pupstar Cavalier – Barking Bugle Events Editor, Repawting for the Barking Bugle xxxxxxx