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Blatant campaign of terror
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Blatant campaign of terror

The number of refugees fleeing Ukraine has surpassed one million since the Russians invaded twelve days ago. And as the ‘blatant campaign of terror’ unfolds in front of our eyes, played out in real time on our TV sets and social media feeds, I’m sure many of you, like myself, are having difficulty looking away.

The images are heartbreaking: innocent victims of war, often frightened woman, children and the elderly, seeking safety in makeshift bomb shelters or on cold subway floors.

People gather in a subway being used as a bomb shelter in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Efrem Lukatsky / Wojciech Grzedzinski)

A woman from Ukraine sits with her dog at a train station that was turned into an accommodation centre in Przemysl, Poland. (Petr David Josek / The Associated Press)

Equally upsetting is the footage of frightened young families lugging suitcases, rolled-up blankets and small, helpless children onto trains destined for neighbouring border crossings.

People fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine arrive at the border crossing in Medyka, southeastern Poland. (Czarek Sokolowski / The Associated Press)

And so last week, perhaps as a respite from it all, I spent a couple of hours perusing the Free Press image database for news on the oft-forgotten victims of war.

After all, I’m sure I’m not the only one agonizing over the whereabouts and well-being of dogs, cats and all the non-human creatures living freely or in captivity in Ukraine.

A dog howls outside a shop during shelling in Shchastia, in the Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine. (Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press)

The images are saddening, and even though there are reports that a number of animals were evacuated to Poland from a Kyiv zoo last week, I still worry about the millions of other powerless pets left behind.

Displaced Ukrainians seek to leave the capital city at Kyiv central train station in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Erin Trieb / Bloomberg)

One dog owner who arrived in Hungary from a city in western Ukraine said last week that he can’t leave without his dog.

People fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine arrive to Przemysl train station in Przemysl, Poland. (Petr David Josek / The Associated Press)

Another man, an animal rescue owner from Italy, said he would rather die than abandon the 400 animals in his shelter in Kyiv.

I would do the same if faced with a choice to leave my beloved pooches behind. But an option I have here is to aid worldwide organizations like PETAUK and the International Fund for Animal Welfare that continue to offer support to shelters and helpless animals that are left behind in that war-torn country.

Dogs peer out an apartment window, broken during shelling, in Horlivka, in the territory controlled by pro-Russian militants, eastern Ukraine (Alexei Alexandrov / The Associated Press)

Leesa Dahl

Leesa Dahl

Ready Pet Go

This week in pet news

From poop to pits: sniffing out a business opportunity

A plant-based pet food company in Britain is making headlines around the world by offering to pay a dog owner more than $6,000 to switch their canine’s diet for two months and — you might want to sit down before reading this next bit — keep track of their pet’s poop smells. Read more about it here.

Maki, the lemur stolen from San Francisco Zoo, dies at 22

Maki, a ring-tailed lemur who made headlines when he was stolen from the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens in 2020 and then found and returned, has died at the age of 22, the zoo announced Friday.

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Maki died on Thursday after suffering from acute kidney disease and advanced age, the zoo said in a statement. He was among the zoo's oldest lemurs. The median life expectancy of a ring-tailed lemur is around 16 years. Read more about Maki here.

Miami Seaquarium ending shows with aging orca Lolita

The new owners of the Miami Seaquarium will no longer stage shows with its aging orca Lolita under an agreement with federal regulators.

MS Leisure, a subsidiary of The Dolphin Company, said as it announced the completion of its Seaquarium acquisition that Lolita and a companion white-sided dolphin Lii will no longer be exhibited under its new license with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Read more about it here.

New Orleans zoo's near-threatened maned wolves have 4 pups

Near-threatened maned wolves brought to New Orleans to breed have done just that, and are rearing four puppies, the Audubon Zoo announced Thursday.

Three are black and one is silver, but they’ll mature to their parents’ coloration — red coats shading to black on muzzles and long, slender legs.

Maned wolves are from South America. The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources estimates there are about 17,000 mature maned wolves in the wild, with about 90% of them in Brazil. Read more about it here.

Pets of the week

Fran

Fran is the sweetest little bean you will ever meet. She loves to cuddle up on the first open lap she sees and, as you can see, has also perfected a casual lean. While she does occasionally earn her nickname — farty Fran — she also earns the affections of almost anyone who crosses her path.

-Erin L.

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Jett

This is Jetta, who we adopted last Feb. 15, 2021, from Penny’s All Breed. She is three years old now and looks like a mini German shepherd (medium size) and full of energy. Really loves food and her toys! She’s a great addition to our family.

— Zenon Romaniuk

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Looking for a home

Chewy is a handsome and rambunctious four-year-old little jokester who loves to play! He came into the care of the Winnipeg Pet Rescue Shelter in May 2021 after being flown in from Thompson, where he was living outdoors as a stray.

He’s quite energetic and enjoys running and wrestling; he’ll be sure to keep you on your toes. Puzzle toys, especially when they include a treat motivator, are a blast for him to figure out — he’s quite the smartypants. Read more about Chewy here.

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