The news and first-hand accounts coming out of Ukraine are heartbreaking, frustrating, gut-wrenching, and so much more. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, roughly 2.7 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to neighboring countries and the European Union is predicting that there could be four million refugees very soon. Additionally, there are estimates that several thousand have died in the conflict and there have been bombs dropped on residential buildings, hospitals, and nuclear buildings.
And it’s not just people that are being displaced, injured, or killed because of the war, as animals of all kinds have felt the devastating effects as well. For those who have been affected by the war, pets have been instrumental for coping with the trauma and there have been many Ukrainians fleeing the country with their pets in their arms. Resources and support for people fleeing with their animals are limited, making a difficult journey even harder. Places like Sava’s Safe Haven in Romania is trying to help as much as possible, even offering foster homes for some pets of people that aren’t able to leave the country.
For those who’ve stayed behind in Ukraine, like Andrea Cisternino, getting food, clean water, other supplies, and even heat has proven to be difficult. Buildings have been leveled or destroyed in some areas, leaving areas full of glass, concrete, and metal. That has made travel dangerous for humans and animals alike, even to places that are just around the corner. Plus, the loud noises of heaving fighting and blasts have been stressful for animals, with some zoo animals in Kyiv even receiving sedatives at one point.
If you want to help those in Ukraine, here are some resources.

Happy Paw

Happy Paw is a Ukrainian animal shelter that has been working to help stray animals since 2012. Over the last decade, the organization has been promoting the humane treatment of stray animals, running an animal shelter, and helping reunite pet owners with their lost animals.


This animal shelter was the largest in Ukraine before the war and was caring for more than 3,000 dogs and 200 cats. Currently, the shelter is in a territory seized by Russian troops, which has been making their vital work even more difficult.

Four Paws

Four Paws is an international animal welfare organization that helps animals under direct human influence, like domestic animals, zoo animals, and circus animals. Veterinarian Amir Khalil’s story of running the organization’s Rapid Response Team was a part of the Great Big Story’s Planet Earth series and shares how the organization has been helping animals in war zones for years. Four Paws does have a section on their website that shares how to help animals affected by the currently ongoing war in Ukraine.

ADA Foundation [Poland]

Located in Przemysl, Poland (just 30 minutes from the Poland/Ukraine border), the ADA Foundation is an animal shelter that has been inundated with animals escaping the war in Ukraine. Since the war started, this organization has seen dogs, cats, goats, and other animals in various states, with some experiencing injuries, stress, dehydration, or worse.

The International Fund for Animal Welfare

Founded in 1969, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is a global nonprofit dedicated to helping animals and people coexist. Using creative solutions to complex problems, the IFAW has created wildlife corridors in India, vaccinated dogs in Bali, developed new tech to safely release stranded marine mammals, decreased wildlife poaching in Kenya, and so much more. For people and animals in Ukraine, the IFAW has been supporting local partners and shelters on the ground by providing much-needed funds and resources.

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