Earlier this week, Nate Mook woke up to witness something unusual.
Nearly half a dozen hungry dogs, all lined up and politely waiting for their turn at the feedlot he helped set up the day before in the Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk.
“I was blown away. I’ve never seen anything like it,” Mr Mook told SBS News.
Mr. Mook has spent most of the past eight months in Ukraine supporting refugees and humanitarian projects, and is one of the organizers on the ground setting up animal feeding stations in Ukrainian cities.
Dogs waiting in line for food in Kramatorsk were abandoned as their Ukrainian owners were forced to flee from Russian attacks.
In April 2022, thousands of people left the city in eastern Ukraine after a rocket attack on the train station killed more than 50 civilians.
Many families were unable to bring their pets with them, resulting in animals in need wandering the streets.
With their own and families either fleeing the area or being killed, dogs are just a small handful of the thousands of pets across Ukraine who have been left without shelter, food or support.
“These are animals that used to live in homes and have been abandoned by their families and don’t necessarily have anyone looking after them now,” Mr Mooks said.
“They sort of form a pack, and so they’re all together and very, very organized. They’re very intelligent, intelligent animals.”
“Dogs are afraid of people now”
Mr. Mook, an entrepreneur and filmmaker, was most recently CEO of World Central Kitchen, a company that helps feed people affected by natural disasters around the world. In 2017, he led the food relief effort in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria.
He said that now in Ukraine, he noticed a lack of support or help for animals, many of which are hungry and injured.
“These animals are starving,” he said.
“You put the food out and they immediately go for it. It’s really tragic and sad to see the situation they’re in right now, so being able to support them is very, very important.”
Mr Mook said the feeding stations were great because the animals were traumatized by the war and were afraid of people.
“Some of them are fine, some are very friendly, but a lot of them are very, very scared.
“They are very fearful, so being able to give them food without giving them food is very important.”
Feeding stations are set up near hospitals, churches or volunteer centers where organizations and individuals in the area can keep them clean and replenished with food.
Thanks to the support of donations, Mr. Mook and his team were able to purchase pet food and are now in the process of organizing veterinary support and evacuation.
Charity workers have set up feeding stations in Ukrainian cities to support thousands of animals that have been resettled. Source: Delivered / Nate Mook
“Now the need is increasing, and as the Ukrainians are likely to take more and more cities from the Russians — which is amazing news — that also means there will be a lot of animals that need a lot of support,” he said.
“This is just the beginning of what I expect will be quite a long time… some of these cities have hundreds if not thousands of animals and while the residents are trying to do their best to take care of them they don’t have the resources either.” .
Mr Mux’s tweet of dogs lining up for food went viral. He was also told that Ukrainian dogs are well-ordered and obedient.
“I was amazed that these dogs were lining up to eat,” he said.
“It was also something very warm and very wonderful to see and … hopefully (it) will inspire people to support the animals that are here in Ukraine and that need a lot of help right now.”