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The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Other Charities Work With The Clean Futures Fund

Four Paws is another animal welfare organization that sees part of its mission as caring for the descendants of the dogs that were abandoned when Chernobyl was evacuated. It has partnered with Clean Futures Fund by sending in veterinarians and teams of concerned individuals to vaccinate, spay, neuter, and care for the dogs.

Working with the stray dogs who roam Chernobyl comes with its risks. One is rabies, as many of the dogs are infected from living alongside wildlife. Another, of course, is the dangers posed by exposure to high levels of radiation.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Soviet Soldiers Tried To Kill The Dogs

When the evacuation of Chernobyl first began in May of 1986 and many dogs were left behind, the Soviet government had a simple solution for dealing with them: send out soldiers to shoot and kill them. Sadly, hundreds of dogs were killed in this manner.

Of course, the soldiers did not kill all the dogs. However, the encroaching wildlife forced them to remain within the urban area that was abandoned in order to survive. Some tried to go back to their owners’ homes, but there was no one there. They especially crowded around the nuclear plant and were cared for by some of the workers.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Today, There Is An Option To Adopt Them

Instead of shooting the dogs, today, there is a much more humane option: adopt them into a loving family that will care for them. The thought of taking a dog exposed to such high levels of radiation and the potential of rabies and other diseases sounds a bit intimidating, but the animal charities that work in the exclusion zone are making the dogs adoptable.

By vaccinating dogs, these charities are decreasing the risk that they will spread rabies. Only dogs that are free from all diseases are available for adoption. Countries will not even allow a dog inside their borders unless they are free from diseases like rabies.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Workers Thoroughly Clean the Dogs

Veterinarians and other volunteers who travel to the exclusion zone to care for these stray dogs take every precaution to protect themselves. They wear protective clothing to reduce their exposure to the high levels of radiation in the environment so that they can care for the dogs without harming themselves.

When a dog receives care by these teams, it is thoroughly washed to remove the radiation contamination from its coat. This process allows the vets to work with the dogs, even play with them, without exposing themselves to unnecessary levels of radiation. It also helps make the dogs adoptable.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Adoptable Dogs Are Free Of Radiation

Cleaning and vaccinating a dog who has spent its life in the Chernobyl exclusion zone is not enough to make the pup available for adoption. For a dog to be eligible for adoption, it has to be decontaminated in an official facility so that it is free of all but trace amounts of radiation.

The dogs spend 45 days in quarantine to ensure that they are entirely free of any communicable diseases and that they are healthy enough for international travel. They have to be able to get the same health certificates as to any other animal that travels into a country like the United States.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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A Dozen Chernobyl Dogs Were Brought To The US In 2018

With the help of animal welfare organizations, Ukrainian authorities quarantined about 200 dogs and decontaminated them so that they were available for adoption. They brought about a dozen of the dogs to the US so that they could be adopted into a forever family.

Ukrainian authorities hope to continue the process of clearing dogs for adoption and finding them homes, both in Ukraine and in other countries. With about 250 dogs living in the former power plant and hundreds more nearby, groups like the Clean Futures Fund are setting high goals for getting these dogs into safe and loving homes.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Adoption Is A Permanent Solution

Vaccinating the dogs and providing them with food during the short trips that volunteer workers make is a great start. However, to truly help the dogs, the goal has to be to get them off the abandoned streets of Chernobyl and into permanent families.

Instead of cleaning and vaccinating the same dogs year after year, adoption provides a dog with permanent stability and warmth during cold winters. It also allows the dog to give back to its loving family through unconditional love. Many people are willing to adopt these dogs and make them a permanent addition to their families.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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You Can’t Just Visit Ukraine And Bring Home A Dog

Adopting a dog from the Chernobyl exclusion zone is a lengthy process. While these dogs may tug at your heartstrings and make you want to get onto the next plane, there are many protocols in place to ensure both that the dogs are well-cared for in their permanent families and that they are completely healthy.

If you are interested in adopting one of these deserving animals, you will need to do your homework. You will need to make sure that there is room for a dog in your home and that you have the time in your daily schedule to care for it. You will also need to liaise with the appropriate agencies to bring one of these dogs home.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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At Chernobyl, People Are Advised To Not Touch The Dogs

If you are keen on visiting Chernobyl and seeing these pups for yourself, be forewarned: visitors to the area are warned not to touch the dogs. Before they go through the decontamination process, they are likely riddled with contamination, which will rub off on people who come into contact with them.

Furthermore, these are stray dogs who are highly susceptible to diseases like rabies and distemper. They may even be aggressive. The rule of basic common sense applies here: approaching a stray dog is always, ALWAYS a bad idea.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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Dogs Available Are Under One Year Of Age

The Clean Futures Fund has been the most ardent advocate of adopting out the dogs who live on the streets of Chernobyl. Disease, malnutrition, and the bitter winter cold are all threats to their well-being and cause them to have vastly diminished life expectancies. As previously mentioned, they rarely live for more than four years.

Only the youngest of the dogs, those under one year of age, are eligible for being adopted. One reason is likely because they are less likely to have suffered the effects of radiation than those who have been around longer.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
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The Dogs Are Tested For Cancer

One of the most common effects of long-term exposure to radiation is cancer. Identifying dogs who have tumors, as well as cataracts and some other malformations, helps rule out those who have absorbed the highest levels of radiation. These dogs are not healthy enough to be adopted, especially adopted out into the United States.

The presence of cancer is an indicator that the dog has suffered extensive genetic damage and may also have a disrupted microbiome inside its gut. The dogs are sedated and observed for signs of cancer and other life-inhibiting effects of radiation.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
Photo Credit: Pixabay

The Dogs Need To Be Rehabilitated

Anyone who has adopted a rescue dog knows that these animals need special care and attention because they have traumas that affect their behavior. Dogs adopted from the Chernobyl exclusion zone are no exception to this rule.

They may not understand that a toy is something that they can play with; they may only be interested in food. The dogs will need to adjust to human contact, so the furry friends may not immediately curl up at the end of your bed every night. While workers at the quarantine shelters are using procedures to help domesticate the dogs, they will need more help in their new families.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Hundreds Of Dogs Will Likely Come Available For Adoption

The Clean Futures Fund, which is working with the Ukrainian government to make the dogs of Chernobyl adoptable by both Ukrainian and American families, has high ambitions. Its director is hoping to have hundreds of dogs go through the decontamination and quarantine process so that they can be adopted.

This is good news for families that have room in their homes and hearts for an animal that can bring them unconditional love and affection. Moreover, it is good news for the dogs who live in incredibly harsh conditions and may not survive the next winter.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
Photo Credit: Pixabay

You Can Adopt One Of These Dogs

As news about the Chernobyl dog adoption program is spreading, plenty of people are expressing interest in bringing one of these pups home. You can be one of them by emailing the Clean Futures Fund at adoptions@cleanfutures.org.

Keep in mind that expressing interest in adoption does not guarantee that one of these Chernobyl dogs will curl up at the end of your bed every night. There will likely be a high demand for them, a market that will be higher than the ability to decontaminate, quarantine, and clear them for adoption.

The Dog Descendants Who Survived Chernobyl Can be Adopted
Photo Credit: Pixabay

There Are Other Ways You Can Help

Maybe you want to adopt one of these dogs but can barely hope that your name will come to the top of a long waiting list. Perhaps you have compassion for them but don’t have the room or the ability to care for a dog. After all, dogs don’t stay puppies forever, and they require a lot of work and attention throughout their lives.

There are other ways to help these dogs. You can donate and raise money to give to the Clean Futures Fund or another charity that is working to support the dogs of Chernobyl. You can also help dogs more locally, at your nearby animal shelter. The rescue dogs in your hometown are just as deserving as the dogs of Chernobyl.

 

Where Did We Find This Stuff? Here Are Our Sources:

“Chernobyl: The secrets they tried to bury – how the Soviet machine covered up a catastrophe,” by Kate Brown. The Telegraph. March 9, 2019.

“Chernobyl.” Wikipedia.

Dogs of Chernobyl.” Clean Futures Fund.

“Meet the Abandoned Dogs Living in Chernobyl,” by Lauren Lewis. World Animal News. August 21, 2017.

“Chernobyl Puppies Going Up for Adoption in the US,” by Jason Daley. Smithsonian.com. May 16, 2018.

“Hundreds Of Dogs And Puppies Live In Chernobyl – And You Can Adopt One,” by Beth Elias. Ranker.

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