Elena Trofimenko was on her way to work on a recent morning when she saw a dog wagging its tail and greeting people at the bus stop. In the Ukraine, this is an everyday sight as street dogs are everywhere you look. But this innocent scene was about to turn dangerous for the little dog who either fell, or perhaps was thrown, into an uncovered sewage well a full 10 feet deep.
When a distress call went out the FRIEND animal shelter later that day, witnesses reported that a dog was down at the bottom of a sewage drain and no one from any of the city departments would come to help. Some passersby would look, others would continue about their business, but no one was about to ‘lower’ themselves to save a street dog from a filthy hole.
Turns out that Elena was the nearest volunteer on the scene that evening and she was surprised to recognize the same dog she had seen earlier that day now looking up at her from the bottom of the hole. Another volunteer named Yasmine arrived and offered a catch pole to help secure the frightened dog who was now injured and growling. Elena was apprehensive as she tried to sooth the dog and assure him that she would not hurt him, but she was equally concerned about the rat standing beside her foot because a bite by a sewer rat can bring significant health consequences.
With the catch pole now secured around the dog’s neck, the two volunteers were able to use it to guide the dog upward with Elena’s support. It was a cumbersome situation, but within 30 minutes, the dog was back at the surface.
Sometimes You Have to Fall Before Someone Notices You
“What a way to spend a Friday night,” Elena said, loading the dog into the back of her car. “The boy had a lot of injuries, but overall he feels good. He is about 7 or 8 months old, very playful and active boy!”
And with that, Elena set about searching for the dog’s guardian and fostering him. The dog was wearing a collar (no tags) and there is still hope that perhaps his family can be found. Sometimes the only way a stray animal gets noticed is when something catastrophic happens like getting hit by a car or stoned by residents. In this case, tragedy turned a simple sewage drain into a tunnel of love for a dog who would have otherwise joined the invisible masses of homeless dogs.
A Bigger Effort for All the Fallen Dogs & Cats
The FRIEND animal shelter in the Ukraine has a multitude of dogs and cats who will be counting on them for safety this winter. With the help of the Harmony Fund’s supporters and Care2 readers, they’re now able to stock up on all the supplies they’ll need when the snow makes roads impassible. The shelter is far from warm, though, as it’s a simple set up of insulated dog houses and kennels that don’t provide the kind of protection the rescuers want for these dogs. When the shelter relocates in the spring, it is their dream to have a true building with heat and running water, the simple things most of us take for granted. Learn more about the efforts to help the animals of the Ukraine.
This dog is recovering and receiving love from Marina of FRIEND animal shelter after someone tried to skin him alive with a knife. The cases of cruelty and neglect here in Ukraine call for significant international aid.