HT Reaches Out to Help Moscow Animals

On November 5th HT Executive Director, Sue Bell traveled to Moscow with a longtime volunteer, supporter, adopter of HT, Shana Aufenkamp. We had been asked to help an amazing fellow animal lover and rescuer, Barbara who faces very difficult times and the kitties she has dedicated her life to now face a horrible fate.As you know, the climate in Russia towards animals is not a good one. Prominently highlighted during the Olympic games in Sochi, what we saw on TV was just a small glimpse into the dismal life thousands of animals endure in Russia.

Shana lived in Russia for several years, continuing to volunteer with HT (you have to love technology) and becoming involved in rescue efforts in Moscow as well. She met a lovely woman named Barbara who has been living and working in Moscow for over 20 years. The heart and soul of the group Moscow Animals, Barbara gives everything she has to help homeless cats and dogs. Moscow isn’t the place today it was even 10 years ago. The economy is suffering threatening Barbara’s livelihood, and she may soon have to leave Russia and return to Germany. If she leaves, she will have no choice but to euthanize the 30+ cats she personally cares for as there is no one to take them and putting them on the streets would mean a horrible fate. Shelters in Russia are awful beyond words.

Homeward Trails has been a supporter of Moscow Animals for over five years now, taking in and adopting out several sweet dogs who have made the transatlantic flight, and even a few cats from neighboring Kazakhstan. Barbara has asked HT for help, and HT will do what it does – rescue animals in need whose time has run out without any other options. We are rescuers helping a fellow rescuer.

People may ask why HT would travel around the world to help a handful of cats when there are thousands dying daily in US shelters. HT spends 99.9% of its resources focused solely on animals in our local areas or in surrounding states. But over the years, when a request has come from a loyal volunteer, adopter, supporter for an animal in need outside of our normal operations, we have always done our best to step up to help. We know firsthand how emotionally awful it is to see an animal in need and feel desperate to help. And we know that if we can help that one person help that one animal, the gesture and effort will be paid forward to help more animals in need. It always is.

On November 12th, Shana and Sue returned from Moscow with kitties….all of whom are doing great and readying for adoption! However, while there, they also visited a local, privately-run dog shelter, said to the be the nicest in Moscow. It is owned by a lovely woman and her husband who dedicate every penny they have to the animals.

There are 200 dogs and 20 cats on the premises who must live outdoors. Only 1-2 animals are adopted each month and so most will live their lives there. While there, a litter of 5 beautiful puppies were brought in having been found with their dead mother who had been poisoned to death two days prior.

HT is now working on creating an outreach program to help some of these animals…please stay tuned and check out our Facebook page for regular updates. These animals need us and we have many creative ideas for how we can all help give them a chance!


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