Ukrainians Are Only Leaving If Their Pets Can Come Too

Here's how you can help animals in Ukraine ❤️️

As over a million Ukrainians flee their country, many are refusing to leave without their pets by their side. Across social media, photos have popped up of people and their animals attempting uncertain border crossings or huddling in bomb shelters and subway stations.

According to recent reports, most neighboring countries are allowing Ukrainians to bring pets across borders without veterinary paperwork. However, there are still many animals in Ukraine in need of food, medicine and care. Heroic volunteers and zoo and shelter workers are staying behind in the face of missile strikes to care for these animals.

Rishabh Kaushik, a student at Kharkiv National University, refused to join his family in India if it meant leaving his rescue dog behind. "I decided then that if my dog can't leave, I won't either," Kaushik told The Times of India. I know that there is [a] risk in staying on but I can't just abandon him. Who will take care of him if I go?" 

It’s hard not to feel powerless in times of crisis, but there are ways to help Ukrainian pets and their families — as well as the shelter animals with nowhere else to go. Here are some organizations that need your support to help the animals of Ukraine:

This organization typically rescues, treats and re-homes abandoned dogs and cats in and around Solca, Romania. However, since the start of the Russian military invasion of Ukraine, they’ve been providing support, care and shelter to Ukrainian refugees and their pets — as well as transporting supplies to Ukrainian shelters in need. To help Saved By A Vet, you can make a one-time donation via PayPal or contribute to their Amazon wishlist.

The IFAW has been working with partner shelters in Donetsk and Gorlovka to provide funds for pet food, veterinary supplies and staff wages. They have also provided a $50,000 grant to World Central Kitchen (WCK), an organization serving hot meals to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and in five Ukrainian cities, including Odessa and Lviv. You can make a donation to IFAW here.

Ukrainian family and their dog flee to Hungary amid Russia's invasion
Christopher Furlong / Staff

UAnimals is collecting donations to support animal shelters left with dwindling food and supplies due to the Russian invasion. So far, they have sent assistance to a growing list of shelters across Ukraine, including Give A Paw, Chance for Life, Pif and Sirius. “Volunteers in shelters and rehabilitation centers will never abandon their animals and will stand until the last,” reads a Facebook post. To help UAnimals, make a donation here.

This nonprofit supports shelter animals in Ukraine and promotes the humane treatment of stray animals. They are currently working on collecting information regarding shelters’ conditions and urgent needs. “According to our data, all animals are alive and there is food for the next few days. The biggest problem is that no delivery service is currently able to deliver the necessary food and groceries to the shelters. And also in the absence of fuel for vehicles and the possibility in some regions to withdraw cash or calculate a grocery card,” they wrote in a recent post on Facebook. To help Happy Paw, you can make a donation here.

This animal rescue and farm sanctuary in Ukraine is building up a wartime food reserve for their hundreds of animals and is currently facing difficulty transporting supplies so close to the bombings. To help Shelter Ugolyok, you can make a donation via PayPal (, Venmo (pawsofhelp) and Fundrazr or Patreon.

For over 20 years, Sirius has been caring for stray animals in Kyiv and its suburbs. As one of the largest animal shelters in Ukraine, they need all the support they can get. “We are in place. We are not going to run! We must believe in our country and our defenders!” Sirius wrote in a recent Instagram post. You can make a donation on their website.

Ukrainians fleeing with their pets
Facebook/Casa lui Patrocle

This Romanian nonprofit has been advocating for animals since 2016, and is now at the border making sure that no family crossing over from Ukraine has to leave their pet behind. Volunteers with this organization are working to find housing, shelter and veterinary assistance for animals in need of help — regardless of species. You can make a donation to Casa lui Patrocle here.

Caman Denysenko tries to calm his spooked cat as he seeks shelter
Marcus Yam/Contributor

Andrea Cisternino and his wife, Vlada Shalutko, have been advocating for stray animals in Ukraine since 2009, and run an animal refuge outside of Kyiv. They continue to care for hundreds of homeless dogs, cats and farm animals in the midst of military activity. You can donate to the animal refuge here.