Brave Woman Descends Sewer for Trapped Homeless Dog

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.

One Brave Woman Descends The Man 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.

Related stories:

Remarkable Rescue of Elderly Woman Living at Dump With Dogs & Cats

Blindfolded Woman Tames Dangerous Doberman

Cheetah Raised by Humans Who Loved Her Enough to Set Her Free



Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

A beautiful article, thank you all for sharing especially Elana.

Glennis Whitney
Glennis W2 years ago

Another amazing story, thank you Elana for caring and sharing, you are doing a wonderful job,

Jessica Story
Jessica Story3 years ago

Well done!

Lucy S.
Lucy S3 years ago

Thank you for all you do!

Elizabeta S.
Elizabeta S3 years ago

Elena, I wish there are more people like you. What you've done it's very noble and even more so because I know what is general opinion of stray animals in Ukraine. It is very similar in Bosnia so I know how hard it is and how people don't understand why strays should be helped. There is a massive and illegal elimination of stray dogs in Sarajevo as we speak. There is a petition on Care2 and we almost collected sufficient number of signatures, hence I'm using this opportunity too to ask you all to sign it. In Bosnia, if you want to save a homeless animal you have to be ready to bring it home. There is no shelter that will take it, because they're already full and can hardly care for dogs they already have. So, people willing to pay medical expenses and food for animal in need cannot even do so, because there is no system that allows this unless you can take them home with you. I managed to save four stray dogs, three of them hit by a car and one with pneumonia. And they are my family now. So, thank you all brave people, especially in animal unfriendly countries for doing anything you can.

Irene M.
Irene M3 years ago

Elena, you deserve a medal. God bless you and Yasmine for your bravery and kindness to animals.

Dianne Dunn
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank goodness there are people like Elena!

Dominika Rychlik
Dominika Rychlik3 years ago

If more poeple learned to think and behave this way, how much better would be the world!

Adrian Shiva
Adrian Shiva3 years ago

Another rare hero.

Lynn Carin LadySeastar
Lynn Carin3 years ago

Thanks for sharing this story - a very brave and kindhearted lady to rescue this dog / pup and I hope both of them are doing better now. Kudos to all of the kind people in our world who rescue animals... blessings to all.