Ukraine Update: “This Is a Humanitarian Disaster”

Thank you to everyone who joined us last week for Ukraine Update with Greater Good Charities. The Association’s Katherine Shenar interviewed Greater Good’s Noah Horton, Denise Bash, and John Peaveler about their current efforts to assist Ukrainian refugees and their pets. You can register and listen to the recording anytime. Following are a few key takeaways from the interview.

On the Ground

Greater Good Charities is currently working to help both people AND pets. “The situation is overwhelming a lot of human systems, so we’re working on both sides, to try to meet those needs,” says Noah Horton “It’s a long-term humanitarian response first and foremost.”

Greater Good has provided tremendous financial support for local organizations assisting at border crossings, and has some staff on the ground. “Most checkpoints are open 24/7,” says Horton, “with resources for people and their animals. We’re seeing that for those fleeing with their pets, providing support to their pets is an important service to people going through a crisis.”

Good Home Ukraine

Greater Good has also set in motion a Good Home Ukraine program to recruit foster homes. They’ve created a database to actively register shelters in neighboring countries who need fosters for pets displaced from Ukraine. Explains Horton, “Foster volunteers can go to the website to see which shelters are registered in their area, select the shelter they’d like to work with and submit an application to foster a pet for the short- or long-term.” 

The Best Ways to Help

Acknowledging that we are in a compassionate, caring industry, in which many animal welfare professionals are ready and willing to deploy, Greater Good shared insight based on an experience they faced during a disaster in Japan. “It was extremely difficult to provide any sort of meaningful support on the ground,” says Peaveler, “because of the language barriers and cultural differences. We’re finding similar things here, not to the same extent. They do have systems for response in place, and they have organizations and volunteers within those organizations responding. The massive thing they’re missing is funding.”

It is difficult to get shipments of supplies into Ukraine from other countries, especially from the United States into Europe, yet cash allows local organizations to mobilize quickly and purchase supplies on the ground where possible. Until they move into a future phase in the rescue response, Bash and Peaveler recommend that organizations can best help by organizing a fundraiser. “It is really about raising awareness,” says Bash, “and it would be great if you can work with your community to hold an event to raise critical funds so badly needed, and to educate people about what’s happening, so it stays fresh in their minds and hearts.”

For a complete discussion of Greater Good’s work, including veterinary support, register and listen to the webinar recording.

Learn More

Greater Good’s Updates From the Field (scroll down the homepage)
Blog: What You Need to Know About Animals in Ukraine

Photo: Sergi Mykhalchuk/Greater Good


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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