When Nick and his wife Vanessa learned about all those thousands of companion animals that were being surrendered by Ukrainian families who had to flee the war zone or were found abandoned on the streets of Ukraine, they knew they had to do something.
As animal lovers and advocates, as well as proud owners of three Bengal cats who greatly enrich their lives with their companionship, they simply could not turn their backs on those poor animals that had been left behind.
Nick loaded up his 4×4 SUV and started his amazing journey all the way from the UK to Poland where he later on teamed up with Foundation A.D.A. veterinary clinic and volunteered to drive into Ukraine to deliver emergency supplies to various Ukrainian sanctuaries, and also bring back abandoned and injured animals.
Thanks to his wife Vanessa, who runs Nick’s mission control from their home in the UK, LoveCATS could get in touch with Nick for an exclusive Q&A session on his amazing volunteer work to save animal lives in Ukraine.
It came about after my wife Vanessa read that a pub landlord in Weymouth has driven to the Poland/Ukraine border with humanitarian supplies. Inspired by his efforts, we made a snap decision that I could take my SUV and trailer, load it to the gunnels, and do the same.
My original mission was to help the human refugees. I went on the 2nd March, so quite early on in the crisis. After 23 hours of driving, I arrived at the border and off-loaded my supplies.
I had arrived in Krackow on the way back, when Vanessa phoned me again and said she had received an email from Network For Animals (NFA) saying there was a pet refugee crisis.
We immediately decided to start helping companion animals. NFA had given a list of what they needed delivered to a collection point near the border, but our research showed there were no big pet stores in Poland, so I drove to Dresden in Germany and loaded up there.
I then drove back to the border, to Fedropol, and off-loaded my supplies of dog and cat foot, pet carriers, bowls, etc. I met up with people from the Foundation A.D.A., a big veterinary clinic in the area, and decided to stay on and help out wherever I could.
I travelled into Ukraine with their team to drop off emergency supplies and bring back abandoned animals, and those needing medical attention. I started fundraising to buy them a new animal ambulance, as they have told me this is critically needed.
My wife and the three Bengals all gave their full support and run my “mission control”!
I’ve been on the Poland/Ukraine border now for two weeks at the time of this interview.
We deliver food, medical supplies, and blood and we bring back abandoned animals or animals that require medical attention. All the clinics and animal sanctuaries in Ukraine are crying out for support and supplies and we endeavour to deliver whatever they need.
It depends which vehicles are in use but on the run I did we brought back ten dogs and 6 cats. A general rule of thumb is that each person that goes into Ukraine will bring back 5 animals, so three people in one van will be able to legally bring back 15 animals.
When the air raid siren went off in Lviv, it was a bit scary. You hear them on movies, so it was surreal to hear them in real life. I didn’t fear for my life, but it was very haunting.
I fear for the animals lives, because they are obviously so incredibly stressed. Many of the cats are clearly suffering from PTSD and have just retreated into themselves. It’s heart-breaking to see.
Probably getting into Ukraine. Everything is chaotic and fast-changing and everyone is working at full capacity.
Seeing the suffering of the animals and also knowing that their owners must be missing them terribly. The thought of being separated from my own cats is unbearable so I can totally empathise.
I’ve had several calls from desperate people asking me to go and collect their pets, but it’s just not possible. I find it frustrating that I can’t do more.
Meeting incredibly inspirational people like the vets at Foundation A.D.A. who are working 23 hour shifts, and other volunteers who are helping the pet rescue effort.
Also seeing the animals being moved into a warm kennel with a blanket, food, and water, and knowing that they are now safe.
I really don’t know. I spent 1700 € (euros) on pet food and animal cages. I think it’s a cumulative efforts of hundreds of people all working together and trying to find a way forwards to assist animals under very challenging and fluid conditions.
My daily work includes loading animals into vehicles, finding large bulk orders of animal foods, and also fundraising for the animal ambulance. After this interview, I am going to go and help washing some dogs!
We’ve paid for a lot of items like the ferry tickets, hotel, and humanitarian supplies from our own money, but we are crowdfunding the rest of the money that we need to buy the animal ambulance. Scroll down for crowdfunding page link…
We would love your readers to donate to our JustGiving page to help us fund a new animal ambulance.
Foundation A.D.A. have requested a fairly new vehicle, as they simply cannot afford for it to break down on a mission.
It’s worth noting that once the war is over, the ambulance will continue to be used to assist animals.
I would recommend that you contact a local charity on the ground and ask what they actually need. Their needs are changing all the time.
There are also some big charities like Network for Animals, Humane Society International, Four Paws, and others who are all doing amazing work and are sending out emails advising what supplies are needed and where. They raise funds for their local partners on the ground in the war zone.
I really don’t know how long I will stay. Every day is filled to the brim with things that need doing. I would hope to do another two or three runs into Lviv before I return home.
It will take me three days to drive home and I will have covered over 3,000 miles!
In breaking news, Pen Farthing, CEO of animal charity NOWZAD, has made contact and I am meeting with him in a day or two.
Pen’s organisation have huge resources such as depots and collection points around the UK, so we will be combining our efforts.
I’ve learned that, in a crisis situation, so much is about getting the right thing, in the right place, at the right time. That is how we can all make a difference in this horrendous situation and, together, save as many animals and pets as possible.
All the images on this article are courtesy of Nick Tadd with kind permission of Foundation A.D.A., Poland.
Nick Tadd along with his wife Vanessa Warwick are co-founders of Property Tribes, one of the busiest landlord and property investor communities in the UK. If you wish to contact Nick to support his pet rescue mission in Ukraine, you can find his contact details on the Property Tribes website.
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