For Jena Dzitsiuk, a Ukrainian living in San Leandro, the past week has been difficult.
“It’s horrible to hear that some of my friends can’t leave and they’re not safe,” she said.
Since the start of the Russian invasion, his homeland has turned into a war zone. Leaving her on edge as to what might happen next.
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But it’s not just his relatives who worry Dzitsiuk.
Several years ago, she helped start a non-profit organization for disabled and unwanted dogs in Ukraine. Trying to find them new homes in America.
“Usually older dogs, three-legged dogs,” Dzitsiuk said.
The Russian invasion has stranded 15 members of his team in Kiev who care for around 40 dogs.
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Dzitsiuk explains that although they couldn’t get the transport needed to get the animals to safety in neighboring countries, her volunteers chose to stay with them in the city.
Many spend nights in makeshift bomb shelters with the animals as the war rages on.
“I’m afraid people won’t even leave without the dogs. They’re so worried about them,” Dzitsiuk said.
But Dzitsiuk’s passion goes beyond simply helping those still in Ukraine. For her, it’s also personal.
His own dog, Zoob, which means tooth in Ukrainian, was one of the dogs rescued by his non-profit organization.
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Now Dzitsiuk says she works tirelessly to get her team and the animals out of the country.
Fundraising through the group’s Facebook page to try to pay drivers for transportation to the Ukrainian border.
A goal Dzitsiuk says where failure is not an option.
“I don’t want to think about that,” she said.
If you would like to donate, you can do so on the group’s Facebook page here.
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