Phuket’s Soi Dog steps in to help provide emergency medical assistance to conflict-affected animals in Ukraine
PHUKET: World-renowned animal rescue NGO Soi Dog Foundation, Southeast Asia’s leading organization helping dogs and cats, has joined in supporting war-affected dogs and cats in Ukraine by partnering with Poland’s oldest and largest nonprofit animal welfare organization, TOZ (Towarzystwo Opieki Nad Zwierzetami, or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), to help provide a essential assistance to animals affected by the Russian invasion of the country.
The Phuket-based Soi Dog Foundation has pledged an immediate grant of US$250,000 that will help fund the completion of a purpose-built animal treatment clinic in the Polish town of Celestynów, which will serves as a focal point for Ukrainian animals, and in the meantime help TOZ provide emergency medical care to animals in desperate need right now.
The massive movement of refugees from Ukraine to countries across Europe has already seen around 2 million of them seek refuge in neighboring Poland and thousands of pets have made the perilous journey with their owners who have bravely refused to leave behind their beloved companions.
Soi Dog is taking the unprecedented step of helping animals outside Southeast Asia for the first time in its 19-year history, identifying the urgent need for medical intervention for some of the 40,000 dogs and cats esteemed who arrived in Poland during the conflict.
TOZ, which has 79 branches and operates 11 shelters across Poland, has been providing emergency aid to animals that often arrive traumatized, thin, dehydrated and in desperate need of medical attention.
But, their incredible efforts so far may be in vain as they are quickly running out of funds to continue providing care to the animals that need it most. And for those in need of veterinary care, there are few other options available.
“We wouldn’t usually work outside of Asia, but it’s clear the problems in Ukraine are huge, and while some of the animal needs are being met, such as the provision of food, many others aren’t.” , said Soi Dog co-founder John Dalley MBE.
“TOZ is already in partnership with Mars Petcare and receives food donation trucks from them, which are distributed to the reception points for refugees and their animals. So, for now, there is no shortage of food.
Some owners and their pets traveled nonstop over land for days, through Russian bombs and shelling, just to reach the safety of the Polish border, and others descend on the country every day.
TOZ social chairman and director of the shelter in Celestynów, Lukasz Balcer, said: “Many of these people took only a tiny amount of luggage and their beloved animal with them.”
Examples of true camaraderie and bonding between man and animal are seen daily in this conflict.
“In one case, we saw a touching example of an owner’s attachment to his animals,” Lukasz said. “An old woman. In one hand she held a container with a cat on it. In the other hand she held a huge dog on a leash, which snuggled up to her, comforting and seeking to reassure each other in this terrifying situation. It’s an amazing example of what true love is and how friends don’t get left behind no matter the circumstances.
TOZ has also worked with Ukrainian shelters bringing dogs in groups of 20-30 and placing them in temporary shelters and foster homes across Poland, and assisting with certification, microchipping and vaccination of pets to travel from Poland to other EU countries. but unable to do so without such documentation.
Whether or not a resolution to the conflict is reached in the weeks or months to come, one thing is certain: the impact of the war will last much longer. John Dalley does not doubt it. “The crisis is certain to last for a long time and the needs of the animals left behind are likely to be enormous. Soi Dog is committed to doing everything in its power to provide help where it is needed most.
If you would like to help the animals of Ukraine through the Soi Dog Foundation and TOZ, please visit https://links.soidog.org/help-the-animals-of-ukraine