A few days ago, the Mykolayiv Regiment of the National Guard of Ukraine received a strange but wonderful “trophy dog” abandoned by the Russian Army that now serves in the ranks of the National Guard and defends Ukraine. He used to belong to the National Guard of Russia, whose unit was destroyed by Ukrainian forces in Mykolayiv Oblast.
The National Guardsmen named this trophy dog Max. Max, a beautiful, sleek Belgian shepherd, belonged to a unit of the Russian National Guard that had captured one of the villages in Mykolayiv Oblast.
When the Ukrainian army liberated the region, all the animals, including Max, fled from the village. As a matter of fact, Max was abandoned by his Russian master and found himself wandering around the village with other homeless animals. A villager found Max near his home, sheltered him and presented him to the Ukrainian soldiers.
Soldiers of the 19th Regiment of the National Guard in Mykolayiv jokingly say that they are in the process of “denazifying” Max, who will now serve in the ranks of the National Guard of Ukraine.
The dog trainer, call sign “Riddick,” says Max is very friendly and super intelligent.
“Max is about three years old and in excellent physical shape. He understands all the basic commands. So far, he understands orders only in Russian, the language of the aggressor and enemy, but we’ve started giving him lessons in Ukrainian,” says “Reddick” with a big smile.
When Max arrived at their base, he was wearing a camouflage collar with an inscription – “5.45 Zashchitnik” (Defender). This Russian company manufactures K9 collars, which special canine units use for their animals.
[editorial]As war rages in Ukraine, animals have been caught in the crossfire and the situation is growing more dire every day. many are rescued by soldiers, workers of the State Emergency Services of Ukraine and/or civilians.
“We’re very grateful to the family that sheltered Max and then offered it to our regiment. They could’ve sold him for a pretty penny, as he’s obviously a pedigree animal. From now on, Max will serve in our ranks, defend Ukraine and learn to bite off some Russian asses,” laughs Guardsman Dmytro.
Suffering in the midst of this nightmare, and with no understanding at what has turned their world into chaos, animals – family pets, domestic stock, those kept in rescue facilities or zoos, and wildlife – are seriously threatened by death or extinction.
While many Ukrainian zoos are supported by international zoo associations such as EAZA, small animal shelters – especially those in active war zones – are struggling to provide basic care or arrange for evacuation.
There are many animal welfare organizations and volunteers caring for these injured and stranded animals throughout Ukraine. One of these is Nova Ukraine. There is no clear end of this war so fundraising is necessary to support the emergency rescue efforts of animals in Ukraine. Donations are used to cover costs of relocation, basic food supplies, medical needs, transport to new locations, etc.
Among many other needs, animal welfare is a matter of urgency and will probably remain topical for months and years to come.[/editorial]
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