If you’re a dog lover and you’ve been watching HBO’s incredible docudrama Chernobyl, you might have been a little traumatized after episode four. In the series (and real life, obviously), a team of Soviet soldiers ventures into the irradiated city of Pripyat in Ukraine to kill any pet dogs left behind by fleeing families to prevent the spread of contamination. It’s a heart-wrenching portrayal of one of the lesser-known stories of the Chernobyl disaster, but there’s some good news here, too.
It turns out at least some of the Chernobyl dogs survived the ordeal and may have even interbred with feral wolves in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (1,000 square miles of land dotted with abandoned cities which are currently being reclaimed by nature). Visitors are warned not to pet the puppies, due to the threat of radioactive contamination, but there’s a non-profit group determined to help them.
Clean Futures Fund (CFF), a U.S. humanitarian aid organization helping stray descendants of Chernobyl dogs, has been on the ground working to rescue these furry survivors.
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We’re so appreciative and proud of our #DogsofChernobyl 2019 team. These smiling volunteers have long days ahead of them and they do it all with a smile. You can support their work to vaccinate/spay/neuter #Chernobyl strays by making a donation at the link in the bio ????
The organization’s most recent excursion to Chernobyl started on June 3rd of this year, in partnership with SPCA International. The dogs they save will be treated for radiation poisoning, vaccinated for rabies, and spayed or neutered. The sweet survivors will also (hopefully!) get adopted into loving forever homes, but not without some work.
The most significant challenge, according to CFF, is socializing and training these wild pups so they’re ready for adoption.
“The biggest consideration should be given to the fact that these dogs have not had any real socialization before coming to our rescue shelter,” a CFF co-founder told Vice last year.
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We are excited to introduce our Dogs of Chernobyl volunteers for 2019. We will be introducing everyone over the next several weeks so be sure to follow us on our adventure. Brittney Sanford will be joining us for the first time this summer. Brittney is from Indiana and graduated with a Veterinarian Assistant Certificate from J Everett Light Career Center in 2018. She currently works as a veterinary assistant at the Hamilton County Spay / Neuter Clinic in Indiana. Brittney has volunteered here time trapping cats for Community Cats of Hamilton County. "I feel Spay / Neuter is highly important to controlling pet over population and animal welfare that I have dedicated my professional and personal time to this cause and am beyond excited to have been given this opportunity to join the Clean Futures Team and help the Dogs of Chernobyl." Welcome Brittney. Say Hello to Brittney and please share this post. Donations are what keeps this program going. There are a significant amount of necessary medications and vaccines that need to be purchased to help these dogs. Every little bit counts. Even five dollars will help for providing pain medication for one dog. #best #instagood #photograph #adventure #wanderlust #explore #abandoned #ukraine #chernobyl #pripyat #medicine #spayneuter #ig #follow #puppies #puppylove #rescue #picoftheday #volunteer #animalcare
“They don’t understand the concept of a toy—the only things they like to play with are sticks and things to eat. We have developed a special training program for the puppies while they are in the adoption shelter, but they will likely still need a little extra love to reach their full potential,” she said.
Here’s the latest update on the Chernobyl dogs from CFF last year: