How Dog Therapy Helps Traumatized Ukrainian Kids Cope with Displacement

How Dog Therapy Helps Traumatized Ukrainian Kids Cope with Displacement

Several people have been displaced since the war broke out in eastern Ukraine. Many have fled to other parts of the country, while others seek refuge in foreign countries. Among the refugees are kids who have had to leave everything they love and know behind. A lot of them are facing emotional trauma as a result of the ongoing conflict.

When children get exposed to such terrible events, they are inclined to deal with their anxiety and sadness in destructive ways. These feelings may manifest in uncontrollable anger, depression, psychological problems, and post-traumatic stress disorder. That is why it is more important than ever to make sure these kids have access to a few safe spaces where they can find joy.

To help the displaced kids, many volunteer-based groups have provided a safe space for these children where they can go to recuperate and alleviate their stress as they come to terms with the hardships of their lives. Some of them introduced dog therapy programs to provide an opportunity for kids to forget their troubles for a little while and enjoy some love and companionship. Dogs are one of the best treatment methods for these children because they're able to provide unconditional love and acceptance — something some of these kids have never experienced before. They help Ukrainian children cope with their displacement by playing with them and providing a much-needed distraction from the chaos around them.


                     Image by Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

Simply being around therapy dogs can help calm and soothe children and make them feel safe and secure, providing them with an unwavering sense of comfort and stability. Therapy dogs serve as loyal friends and confidants, providing a much-needed sense of normalcy and connection to life before the conflict. This is something desperately needed by people coping with the horrors of war.
 By providing love and support, these volunteer-based organizations are helping children heal and rebuild their lives.


Animals also need help in times of war

The horrors of war are not faced by people alone. Animals also suffer immensely as much as people do. Pets are often left behind and subjected to violence when families flee their homes. In Ukraine, for example, pets like cats and dogs have been displaced by the ongoing conflict. They are left to roam the streets searching for food resulting in some being injured, disabled or dead.
Wild animals are not left out of this predicament. Sadly, one of the zoos in Ukraine contemplated euthanizing their large predators like tigers, lions, and bears if they can’t be moved safely, due to the fear that they may escape into villages and threaten people already living in difficult conditions. However, a few wild animals have been safely evacuated out of the country and are out of harm's way.

Support a good cause for displaced kids and animals in Ukraine

NGOs in the country are doing their best to help as many displaced kids and animals as possible, but they need your support.

Many organizations support the Ukrainian refugees. Some of these organizations provide financial assistance to refugees, while others focus on feeding and educating displaced children. Organizations such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Save the Children also provide support to refugees by helping them with housing as well as providing education and psychological services.

Animal protection organizations in Ukraine have been working hard to rescue and protect animals since the beginning of the crisis. Unfortunately, their work has not been easy, as they lack the necessary resources to do their job effectively. Financial support is essential for these organizations as it allows them to buy food and medical supplies for the animals who can't be evacuated, pay rent for shelter space, and cover other operational costs.



There are several ways you can help support these organizations. You can make a donation, volunteer your time, or raise awareness about the issue. If you are unable to travel to Ukraine yourself, you can choose to support them from afar by sharing their work on social media.

Here are some charities in need of your support today:

Four Paws
Save the Children
Bright Kids Charity
Kyiv Zoo
Kyiv Animal Rescue Group
Viva! Poland Sanctuary


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