As Ukraine continues to be bombarded with senseless violence, countless citizens are looking for ways to stay safe by either seeking shelter in their country or traveling to a different one.
Those who leave their homes are forced to choose what belongings are important enough to take with them, including their pets. Traveling with a pet can be difficult in normal circumstances, much less in a war. Thankfully, though, measures are being taken to help those who don’t want to leave their pets behind.
1. For those staying in Ukraine, or for those in need of shelter as they travel, places like bomb shelters and subways have become safe havens.
2. Staying in these crowded, cold spaces isn’t easy, but many are finding comfort in their beloved pets.
3. “In the bomb shelter with my cat. She’s been very brave.”
4. For those who are trying to leave the country, the journey is treacherous to say the least.
5. To make the process easier, many neighboring countries have relaxed their traveling requirements for Ukrainian refugees.
6. This has helped, but many of those countries also have rigorous entry requirements for pets, something that could prevent refugees from evacuating.
7. Recognizing this as a problem, the European Commission strongly advised member states to cut back on their requirements for pet entry.
8. Their reasoning, in part, was to give refugees “one less thing to worry about.”
9. Since making that announcement on February 25th, several countries have implemented their request.
10. Some of those countries include Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.
11. “Hopefully, this means Ukrainian refugees will have one less thing to worry about in these dark and difficult times,” the European Commissions health service said on Twitter.
12. Meanwhile, the Ukrainian government is also doing what they can to help their people and pets make it to safety.
13. “Ukrainian self-defense forces evacuate parrots and other pets as well as people!”
14. There are also organizations, like UNICEF, that are sending teams to areas where their services are most needed.
15. “The UNICEF Moldova team traveled to the Palanca crossing point on the border of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine, where the Temporary Refugee Center is located, offering a first batch of humanitarian aid to refugees with children.”
During times of crisis like this, it’s more important than ever that we stick together and lend a helping hand to those in need — and that includes beloved pets who, at the end of the day, are just non-human family members.
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