Ukrainian powerlifter rushes in to save pets from flooding

Ukrainian powerlifter rushes in to save pets from flooding

Dogs were rescued from rising floodwaters in the Kherson region resulting from the collapse of a major dam nearby. Retrieved with loving pats and gentle embraces, their future is looking much brighter and drier. Helping to spearhead these rescues is a familiar face. 

Scripps News has been following Anna Kurkurina for months now as she saves abandoned pets after they were left to endure the war. Kurkurina, a former weightlifter, now dedicates her strength to saving these helpless animals — feeding them, transporting them to veterinarians for medical care, finding them a safe place to stay, even taking in a few herself. 

“I won’t leave them. I won’t be able to ever. You can’t continue to live in peace when you save one life while thousands of others die,” Kurkurina said. 

It’s a more dangerous mission now as the floodwaters crest across a major swathe of the south. Thousands of Ukrainians abandoned their inundated homes after the dam was critically damaged. 

Residents waded through waist-high waters with children on their shoulders and their belongings in plastic bags. 

Some carried pets in their arms, but others were forced to leave their animals behind. Their only hope of survival is Kurkurina and her fellow rescuers. 

Ukrainian officials say the flooding will leave hundreds of thousands of people without vital resources — including clean drinking water.

People like Kurkurina are moving quickly to address this, the latest crisis and threat to the lives of Ukraine’s most vulnerable. 

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