WHO WE'RE HELPING
Over the past year, Veterinarians Without Borders/Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Canada (VWB/VSF) established long-term partnerships with three local animal welfare organizations in Ukraine. These partnerships are focused on ensuring the delivery of pet food and medicine, providing preventative veterinary care (spay/neuter programs, vaccinations, and parasite treatments), and offering online veterinary services.
This support targets war-affected shelters and households, including internally displaced families, families who have lost their homes, and those who care for animals in volunteer and home boarding situations.
OUR LOCAL PARTNERS
Ukrainian Pet Association Worldwide (UPAW), formerly known as Tailed Hostages of War, is responsible for delivering animal food and medical supplies from Lviv, a city in Western Ukraine that borders Poland, to shelters, volunteer initiatives, and vulnerable caregivers across Ukraine. UPAW has a network of regional co-ordinators, volunteer drivers, and warehouses, nationwide. Supplies are sourced from local producers and received as donations from various international organizations. UPAW processes aid requests via its website and through direct contact with shelters. From March 2022 to February 2023, UPAW delivered 1,100 tonnes of food, 39 tonnes of medical supplies, and 14 critically needed generators.
Glad Pet is a non-profit organization committed to helping homeless animals in Ukraine through humane solutions. Their veterinary team, comprised mostly of doctors from a Kharkiv veterinary clinic destroyed at the onset of the war, has partnered with VWB/VSF to establish a project that provides free veterinary consultations to pet owners lacking access to veterinary care. As of February 2023, 1,246 virtual consultations were provided.
Happy Paw is a charity that initially focused on shelter support but has since expanded to encompass various projects and educational initiatives. With assistance from VWB/VSF, Happy Paw has organized 5,524 spay/neuter surgeries in collaboration with volunteer groups and veterinary clinics in Ukraine's most war-affected regions between July and December 2022.
In addition to these partnerships, VWB/VSF has provided one-time financial support to seven smaller local initiatives and shelters, helping them endure harsh winter conditions and ensure the survival of animals in their care.
WHAT WE'RE DOING
VWB/VSF is focused on several key priorities to address animal suffering resulting from the war in Ukraine. These include:
1. Providing essential support: Ensuring basic necessities, such as food and medicine, are supplied to animal shelters, volunteer initiatives, and vulnerable households.
2. Focusing on preventative veterinary care: Offering services such as spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and parasite treatments to mitigate potential health issues.
3. Facilitating access to online veterinary care: Delivering free online consultations and support for animals in need.
4. Developing local capacity: Strengthening the capabilities of local partners and Ukrainian animal welfare groups through collaboration and resource-sharing.
WHERE WE ARE
VWB/VSF was among the first organizations to respond to the Ukraine crisis following the invasion by steadfastly committing to helping affected animals. In March 2022, our partners successfully delivered initial food shipments to devastated shelters within the Kyiv region. Since then, our unwavering assistance has been provided daily without interruption. As the war goes on, and the lack of food and medicine for animals show no signs of improving, we are continuing to support our partners in Ukraine.
Our local partners operate across Ukraine, focusing on regions and facilities with the most urgent needs. These include areas that have experienced severe damage due to hostilities, (Kharkiv and Chernihiv regions), regions recently liberated from Russian occupation, (Kherson region), and those in close proximity to the frontline, (Donetsk, Luhansk, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhya, and Mykolaiv), and require the greatest assistance and provisions.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has made a significant impact on the lives of both humans and animals. By focusing on immediate needs and long-term efforts within Ukraine, VWB/VSF is continuing to make a significant and lasting impact on the lives of animals and those who care for them. Through this program, we're providing food, medicine, and veterinary care to companion animals in war-torn Ukraine, as well as promoting experience exchange between Canadian and Ukrainian animal welfare professionals.
This is contributing to VWB/VSF's overall goal of promoting One Health, by caring for animals in need, in several ways:
Disease prevention and control: Ensuring that animals in Ukrainian shelters and vulnerable households receive proper food and care can help prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. It also aligns with the One Health approach by minimizing the risk of disease transmission and improving overall public health.
Collaboration and knowledge sharing: Facilitating experience exchange between Canadian and Ukrainian animal welfare professionals promotes collaboration and knowledge sharing, which are essential components of One Health . By working together and sharing expertise, these professionals can develop more effective strategies for addressing animal health and welfare issues, which in turn can benefit human and environmental health.
Strengthening local capacity: By providing support and resources to Ukrainian animal welfare professionals, VWB/VSF can help build local capacity for addressing animal health and welfare issues. This capacity-building effort is promoting sustainable, locally-led solutions that consider the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health.
Raising awareness and fostering empathy: Addressing and promoting the needs of animals can raise awareness about the importance of animal welfare and the connections between animal and human health. This heightened awareness can lead to a more empathetic and compassionate response to the needs of all living beings, including health and welfare, along with the environment.
Alleviating animal suffering: The ongoing war has caused significant disruption to the lives of animals, leading to malnutrition, injury, and illness. By providing food, medicine, and veterinary care, we are helping to alleviate the suffering of these animals, improving their quality of life.
Strengthening the human-animal bond and supporting communities: The war in Ukraine has powerfully demonstrated the strength and importance of the human-animal bond. Animals play an essential role in the lives of many Ukrainians, being devoted companions and valuable, (and very vulnerable), family members. By prioritizing animal welfare in their response operations, VWB/VSF is contributing to the emotional well-being and stability of affected community members.
Enhancing expertise and capacity-building of animal welfare initiatives: The exchange of knowledge and experiences between Canadian and Ukrainian animal welfare professionals can increase expertise, capacity, and awareness on both sides. This collaboration improves animal welfare standards, practices, and policies in Ukraine, ultimately contributing to a more sustainable and effective response to crises elsewhere in the future.
Building global solidarity: By extending their support to animals in need in Ukraine, Canadian organizations and people can help foster a sense of global solidarity. This collective action can lead to greater awareness, compassion, and support for animal welfare issues worldwide.
Help Save Ukraine Animals
Thank you for stepping forward today to help feed and care for animals in shelters in Ukraine, and for those fleeing with their animals. The need is urgent – by the day and now, by the hour.
More than 100,000 dogs, cats and other pets are in urgent need of food, water, medicine, and veterinary help.
We have partnered with animal humanitarian agencies who can get the basics to where they are needed the most, which includes 700 Ukraine animal shelters, and 1,200 drop-off points for food delivery where animals are sheltering with their human companions - to homes, to community points, apartment complexes, and where people have had to seek safe shelter from bombing and shelling with their pets.
Our Current and Past Partners on the Ground
A Special Thank You
The entire team at VWB extends a heartfelt thank you to the veterinary clinics, donors, and sponsors who have contributed to our swift emergency response.
A special thanks to the many veterinary clinics that provided urgent medical supplies:
West Kootenay Animal, Trail, BC
Arrow Lake Veterinary Hospital, Castlegar, BC
Castlegar Veterinary Hospital, Castlegar, BC
Selkirk Veterinary Hospital, Nelson, BC
Nelson Animal Hospital, Nelson, BC
VCA Tri-Lakes Animal Hospital and Referral Center, Winfield, BC
Panorama Veterinary Services, Kelowna, BC
Sitara Animal Hospital, Lake Country, BC
And very special thanks to Dr. Kinga Gortel
Donors & Sponsors
Heartfelt gratitude and special thanks to our donors and sponsors whose financial contributions have made our response possible:
P3 Veterinary Partners
VC Birchmount Animal Hospital
Four Feet Companion Foundation
Douglas Animal Hospital
Thrive Pet Healthcare
Mariposa Animal Hospital