From nose to tail: how we became volunteers at an animal shelter
My wife and I always dreamed about a dog: Doberman or Shu tsu, but to buy it, knowing how many wonderful tails desperately need a house, was unthinkable. And once the wife saw the very dog. Friends made repost mimishnogo puppy, which had to urgently find a home so that he did not return to the shelter. “Do we take a dog?” My wife asked. So there were three of us. I will not lie - no harm was done, because the dog is a dog. But I do not regret anything. When you take an animal from the street or from a shelter - this is not the same as what to buy. This is an animal with a story, completely unique. And this is an incredibly wild thrill.
We ourselves can not cope and therefore we ask to help us in this dream.We are sure that there are many people in the world who are not indifferent as we are.It is hard for us to look into the sad eyes of abandoned, lost or sick animals.
If you also see a world like us, if you look at animals that need help with pain in your heart, we will be very grateful for your material help.
We counting on your support and solidarity.
Soon there will be 4 years since we became volunteers. The story of why a person decides to devote his time to a socially important problem cannot always be started with a touching story or a so-called “turning point”. Like, he lived, he was, and here - bang! - something happened, and began to "volunteer." We did not have this. It was more like a gradual appearance of dependence or need.
At first we helped financially, on trifles. You will help some kitten or puppy - and you feel involved in something good. Over time, I wanted to do something more than just financial assistance. So we got a dog - Tobik.
But we really became volunteers after a holiday with friends outside the city in the summer. While everyone was having fun, the wife went behind the butt of the house and saw an unhappy little creature, exhausted and plastered with ticks, tied with a dirty rope to a booth near a porridge cooked a week ago, and water in a rusty dish. Without going into details, I would say that my wife literally stole a puppy in a champagne box. The baby was sick and needed urgent veterinary examination. Then a difficult week followed: the diagnosis was serious, the treatment was expensive, and the chances of survival were extremely small. We decided that we would go to the end, and it began: fundraising, winding over pharmacies in search of drugs, nerves, tears, searching for a blood donor. All this at the same time with work and project management. But there were also pleasant discoveries: completely unfamiliar people responded to calls for help, empathized, gave money. The donor was found in the telephone mode in just an hour! There were even people ready to take the puppy home. We so believed in success and knew that if the baby survived, this would be perhaps the most important achievement for us.
After such a shock dose of volunteering, you simply cannot be content with a small one, the Rubicon is crossed. Then there was the first trip to the animal shelter "Sirius" and the realization that now we have not only Tobik, but more than 2,000 dogs and about 400 cats. Then this was not enough: I wanted to help others, help the shelter and direct their professional skills to a good cause. So began the fairs, participation in festivals and a lot of interesting things.
Every volunteer who deals with animals, at least once in their lives asked: "Why animals?". Often it sounds like a reproach, they say, why not children, old people or the military. And most often it is asked by those who do not help anyone. As the wife said: "Kindness and a desire to help have no limits." So it is: it does not matter to whom to help animals, children or old people. The main thing is to help.
A huge plus of volunteering is that you recognize people who are completely different both in age and status of people, you get acquainted with their stories during a joint hour trip to the orphanage, or when you work side by side in an aviary. At such moments, you realize that there are no borders between people. One of the old-time volunteers of “Sirius”, Tanya, has been a blood donor for more than 20 years. Once her blood was saved by a little boy and, according to Tanya, along with her white blood cells, her love for animals was transmitted to him. For a whole hour, Tanya told how he rescues everyone around, even feeds wolves, and how one day the dog saved her from being bitten by a snake at the cost of his life.
Another woman was a volunteer in a military hospital for several years and rescued hopeless guys, collecting huge sums and sending them to urgent operations in Israel, because our doctors simply did not take on such cases. If you are confronted with such situations, then sooner or later you are “blown away” and you need to switch. Therefore, she temporarily switched to helping animals.
In addition, from animals you get a net return, which is rarely with people. They are so happy and so sincerely loved! It turns out that volunteering is a kind of therapy, a certain guarantee of mental balance.
Where do dogs come from in shelters?
For me, the attitude of man and society to animals, children and the elderly has always been an indicator of his health and adequacy. I love Gandhi’s quote very much: “The greatness and moral progress of a nation can be measured by how this nation relates to animals.” Alas, we have this very, very bad. According to the legislation of Ukraine, an animal is equal to a thing, and even if there is a punishment for cruel treatment of animals, cases of real punishment of the guilty can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Homeless animals are hunted down,
shot, they are declared a hunt. But who is to blame? Where did they come from?
Animals on the streets and shelters get from people. They are the product of our irresponsibility.
The first source is former pets. Once a domestic cat or everyone's favorite dog becomes unnecessary. There are many reasons: a move, a child has appeared, there is no opportunity to feed, the animal has spoiled the wallpaper, has eaten labutenes, has grown old or is sick. At best, the animal is transported to a shelter. At worst, they simply throw it into the street, where it gives birth to offspring, which grows exponentially.
The second source is private sectors and villages, in which very few people know that the animal can be sterilized. As a result, a dog and a cat each year bring tenfold offspring - some are heated, some survive and move to the nearest settlements in search of food.
The third source is lost animals. Even if the compassionate owners are still looking for their animal, the chances of finding a "loss" are not that great. The lack of registration and chipping of pets makes it impossible to quickly find the owner. And then - all the same geometric progression in consequence of the breeding instinct.
The fourth source is the uncontrolled and mass breeding of fashionable pedigree animals without registration and documents, the black market of pedigreed animals and animal sale markets (the market, by the way, itself produces a lot of stray animals, because those who are not sold are simply discarded). Lack of control and registration leads to the fact that anyone can arrange a nursery at home. Often out of puppies grows not what was expected, and the pet is on the street. Or the wrong selection leads to deviations in the character, poor health of the pet, and nobody needs it. Conditionally purebred puppy can be bought for very affordable money, and, playing enough, just throw out on the street. You would see in what condition pedigreed females are delivered to the orphanage, giving birth without respite for the sake of enriching the pseudo hosts.
It is possible to solve this problem of homeless animals by imposing a tax on a purebred pet, compulsory chipping and registration, benefits for those who take an animal from a shelter, increased penalties for cruel treatment of animals, closure of animal sale markets and social campaigns aimed at spreading information about the reasons for this problems and civilized solutions.
How does the shelter work?
On the territory, with a total area of four hectares, more than 2,100 dogs and about 400 cats live. Their number is constantly increasing, especially in the spring. It is a private shelter, and it exists only on donations from patrons, who, due to the current situation in the country, are becoming less and less. The shelter is run by a fragile, but incredibly strong girl, Alexandra Mezinova. By education she is a musician, and in fact, for more than 15 years, the founder and director of a shelter. And for all this time about 5,000 dogs and cats have been attached.
The vital activity of the shelter is also supported by workers who perform the most diverse work in shifts: they chop firewood, clean the cages, distribute food, renew water, and provide medical care to sick and injured animals every day. Once a week a vet comes to the shelter.
In one shift (12 hours), about 2,000 liters of broth and porridge pass through one kitchen worker. The shelter consumes about 20 tons of cereals per month, costing about $ 3,000. Car firewood for a month costs $ 300, and electricity - about $ 500. And this is only a small part of the cost.
Of course, volunteers play an important role in the life of the shelter. Their assistance is divided into two areas: directly, work in the shelter with their hands, and help outside the shelter.
Almost every weekend, completely different people come to the shelter: experienced volunteers, novices, families, young couples, students, children, aged people, whole companies. But there is enough work for everyone and always: this is walking the dogs (the process of socializing the dog is very important, it increases the chances of finding a home and owner), and treatment from parasites, and checking the health or living conditions of the shelter guests, and chopping wood (crossfit for the most durable), and the warming of the booths with hay, and photography, and much more. Most novices themselves organize around more experienced volunteers who tell us what to do and how, do it, inform about the rules of the shelter, distribute tasks. It is very important to follow the rules, because animal life depends on it. For example, a well-thrown pastry can cause a fight among the members of the cage and lead to death, and a secretly thrown chicken bone can injure the internal organs of the animal.
Help outside the shelter is also very important: it does not have a PR department or a full-time marketer. Curative help is important. Becoming a curator means taking the animal into care, looking for a new owner, and monitoring his condition. There are volunteers who have whole enclosures on curator. They also run the social pages of the shelter, someone engages in public relations of animals on the site.
We decided to go further - to participate in fairs and various events. We come with cats and have already been able to find a home for 22 animals. It all started with the sale of hand-made things, eventually opened the studio. With the help of social networks we collect money for vital projects: a paddock, quarantine, insulator, warehouse. Now on the way to creating your own corporate identity and a series of cool design products. We also want to update the site. Very cool people help us: designers, illustrators, photographers, videographers, artists, event organizers, shop owners, cafes, even celebrities and many others.
Everyone can help in different ways: financially, physically, professionally. And everyone can do it because of their capabilities.
Being a volunteer is great and enjoyable. In addition to inner harmony, we received a lot of useful contacts, invaluable professional experience, surrounded ourselves with the best people. And we have the best dog!
Want a best friend? Look for him in the shelter!
Animal shelter “Sirius”, Fedorovka, Kyiv region