Life has been tough for some of these dogs; even before, some had no owners. Southeast Portland intensifies.
Two dogs rescued from the war in Ukraine charmed customers of Sellwood Pet Supply on Saturday August 6th. The store, foster dogs and a local dog rescue group held the adoption showcase in hopes of finding a forever home for each of the homeless dogs.
kyiv, an adorably scruffy medium-sized black mix, greeted humans and dogs alike as they entered the store at 8334 SE 17th Avenue. The other dog, Carolina (nicknamed Cora), mostly slept next to a volunteer booth decorated with sunflowers and the Ukrainian flag. A few customers interacted with the puppies, asked questions about their personalities, and took in information about their adoption. But, there were more than two available!
Cora and kyiv were among ten puppies evacuated to Portland by a coalition of US dog rescue organizations. Meanwhile, Oregon Dachshund Rescue (ODR) is the longtime Sellwood-Moreland nonprofit that was locally involved, although there were no dachshunds in the group.
The ten dogs were less than a year old and were of mixed breeds; the animals were thought to live either on the streets or in bombed-out animal shelters in Ukraine – which, as you know, Russia invaded in February and continues to attack on multiple fronts. Rescuers managed to get these dogs out of the country and first took them to a Romanian shelter. From there, the puppies flew to Frankfurt, then to Seattle. A caravan of foster families then drove them south to Portland on June 28.
Longtime Oregon Dachshund Rescue volunteer Carolyn Kofahl was given a week’s notice of the need to round up local foster families, but she was 100% dedicated to the cause, no matter how hard that was. turn out. “I was trying to find a way to help Ukraine. When this opportunity came up, I was like ‘this is my jam’. This is what I can do,” she explained .
The store’s Events and Outreach Coordinator, Aileen Kwang-Valadez, was thrilled to host the adoption event and share these dogs with customers. “It’s a great way to help animals, promote rescues and connect with our community,” she said. “We’re big supporters of adoption, and we’re happy to help make it easier in any way we can.”
Kofahl called Kyiv a “happy boy” and a “very good dog for an old person.” Abby Mather, who raises Cora, said the dog will “love to be spoiled” and be “someone’s only little Ukrainian princess”.
Although she’s taken in 17 foster dogs to date, Mather’s Ukrainian rescue dogs have been her toughest — and most rewarding. She explained how we had been hiding in his crate for days after he arrived – and she cried with joy when he first jumped onto the sofa next to her. She believes these animals had never been inside a home before coming to Oregon. Kofahl said her foster puppies didn’t know how to eat from a bowl or walk around.
Mather wants adopters to understand that these puppies will need a lot of patience. “I think we’re all thrilled to be able to have a dog that has a place in history, or that we can help a dog that comes out of a very difficult situation,” she explained. “But just be attached to this dog and know he has special needs, because of what he’s been through.”
She choked up when asked if this empowering experience shaped her view of war. “The dogs didn’t ask for it and they don’t understand it,” Mather lamented. “So all they know is loud noises, and [that] the people they knew and trusted were gone.”
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