Pet A Dog From The Exclusion Zone: Hundreds Of Dogs And Puppies In Chernobyl Ready For Adoption
Pets are the next best companion you can have, especially dogs; which makes it so much worse that there are dogs out there on their own with little means of survival, no love, care or homes. It is honestly heartbreaking that these beautiful creatures are homeless, and it's all because of what happened back in 1986. In 1986, havoc wreaked when the unit four reactor failed in the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine. This caused nuclear waste and radiation to be released into the air throughout the close-by city of Pripyat.
The Soviet Union had to make sure people were moved entirely from the area and marked the affected area as the Exclusion Zone. The Exclusion Zone spans 1,000 square miles. Pets were left behind by people who hurriedly evacuated the contaminated areas. These pets were left exposed to the radiation like crisis first responders. So, what has been their fate? Here are the things we know about Chernobyl dogs.
30 YEARS AFTER, STILL HOMELESS
Hundreds of stray dogs still live in and around the power plant over 30 years after, alongside other animals in Chernobyl. Despite the efforts people have made to cull the population of dogs, the dogs of Chernobyl are surprisingly strong and rugged. Luck has smiled upon them, and now they have chances of living in a proper and loving home, all thanks to numerous non-profit organizations that are concerned about animal welfare.
In 2017, organizations started to provide medical care for Chernobyl dogs. In summer 2018, for the first time in some of these dogs' lives, they left Chernobyl. Two groups brought the first batch of dogs to the U.S to feel and experience life besides that of the Exclusion Zone. How wonderful is that!
THESE DOGS WERE ABANDONED AT CHERNOBYL BY THEIR PARENTS
The nuclear disaster at Chernobyl made about 120,000 people leave the location. They couldn't stay there any longer out of fear of poisoning, and that included pets. Some of these dogs tried their best to escape with their owners as they followed them onto the evacuation buses; unfortunately, soldiers pushed them away. Even though the dog owners allegedly left notes pleading with the government not to kill the pets, that didn't pose any solution as they tried to kill as many of the animals as they could. Notwithstanding, the dogs that managed to survive have bred and increased in number.
VISITORS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO TOUCH THE DOGS
The Chernobyl dogs that are up for adoption have been treated and are void of polluting radioactive particles. It is now safe to hold and hug them. However, visitors in the area shouldn't try to touch the dogs that are still in the Exclusion Zone. People go to visit the city, and they are highly advised not to have contact with the dogs that haven't been decontaminated. Drew Scanlon, in his short documentary, 'The Puppies of Chernobyl,' said that visitors are warned not to touch the dogs while in the Exclusion Zone, no matter how tempting it is.
COLD COULD KILL THEM FASTER THAN RADIATION
The cogent threat right now to these dogs around Chernobyl is not even radiation but Ukraine's winters. The average winter temperature in most areas of the country is below freezing point, and we wonder how these dogs are surviving. Although they have survived all these years and radiation has nothing on them, we can't help but be scared of the cold in this region and how it may affect these homeless dogs. It's sad that in the cold, rain, or sun, they have no shelter. They do not have permanent indoor housing, and even if these dogs have thick coats, they can't survive for long in the severe, frozen temperatures.
AFTER ADOPTION, THEY NEED EXTRA CARE
The dogs that will be put up for adoption are physically healthy and active but do not forget that they've been living as wild animals with no one to train or guide them.
Lucas Hixson, co-founder of the Clean Futures Fund — one of the organizations making efforts to help the dogs— explained to Motherboard that they're not typical domesticated animals and will need additional care after adoption as they've had zero or little human contact.
"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".
AUTHORITIES HAVE REPEATEDLY TRIED TO REMOVE DOGS FROM THE AREA
Since 1986, several attempts have been made by the authorities to remove the dogs from the area. Shortly after the reactor exploded, the Soviet Union sent soldiers to kill the dogs and other animals, but the Exclusion Zone is extensive, so it was not successful. The nuclear plant then hired another person to kill the dogs, because they couldn't afford other removal processes, but the Clean Futures Fund reported that the worker refused to. So they made efforts to save the 1,000+ dogs roaming the area. Despite the plan of helping the dogs with medical care, some dogs have been released wearing unique collars that will assist researchers in measuring radiation levels in the Exclusion Zone.
Read More: Chornobyl Disaster: The Reasons And Long-Term Impacts Of The Worst Nuclear Accident In History
WORKERS TRY TO TAKE CARE OF THE DOGS
You'll probably think that Chernobyl and its surroundings will be void of humans, but according to the Clean Futures Fund, 3,500 people work in the area daily. Clean Futures Fund is a non-profit sponsoring a project to help the Chernobyl dogs. Around 250 dogs live at the plant, about 225 in the city of Chernobyl, and hundreds more roam about. The fear of wolves and the need for food have made the dogs desert the wooded areas surrounding the plant into the Exclusion Zone. Some of the workers in the zone feed and cater to the stray dogs, but they are not allowed to take them home.
Read More: Chernobyl: One Of The World’s Greatest Disasters Could Bring A Piece Of Paradise To The World
GOOD NEWS! DOGS ARE AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION
SPCA International and the Clean Futures Fund have come together to make the dogs available for adoption in Ukraine and North America. How nice is it that they are given a chance to live a new life! More than 200 dogs were cleared for adoption, including at least a dozen bound for the United States. They were taken and quarantined for 45 days in the Ukrainian city of Slavutych before they were transported to the United States. Only dogs under the age of one will be released for adoption.
There are different reports about how many dogs will be available for adoption, or how many will end up in the United States. If you are interested in adopting one of the dogs, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.