May 30, 2023


pets keep it coming

Dogs and cats of war: How pets are helping to calm people fleeing

5 min read

Elizabeth Hissa sits on a camp bed piled with blankets in a warehouse in Korczowa, Poland, talking animatedly about the tense evacuation from the war: the lights flashing in distant towns under bombardment, the rush through the Ukrainian countryside, the cries of fear, the hiding under seats.

he terror she describes is not her own but that of the three cats that followed her family on every step of their harrowing journey. Two are now purring from deep within the folds of Elizabeth’s big red winter jacket which she has arranged on the bed for them to lie on. The third peers from a carrier. They are doted on by Elizabeth, her mother Oksana and her grandmother, Lubov, who runs fingers through their soft fur as Elizabeth tells the story of how Russians invaded their home. They say they still cannot believe it is has happened. Her grandmother says: “It is like our heads are not capable of understanding.”