Care and rescue: how homeless animals are helped in Moscow

January 8
Social sector

More than 200 non-profit organizations are engaged in taking care of homeless animals in Moscow. Volunteers save lives of cats and dogs, and other animals in trouble are given daily care too. Anyone can help animals in various ways, for example through the charity service of the portal. The material is about how volunteers cure homeless four-legged animals and help them find a family.

A house for a lion cub and a deer

We are talking with Svetlana Safonova, director of the Hope Givers foundation in the train: she is on her way from a meeting where amendments to the law on Animal Protection were discussed. "We are invited to such meetings as practitioners and consultants," Svetlana says.

The foundation is 10 years old now. Its employees cure homeless animals, look for foster home for them (the Temporary Home project) and a permanent family (the Looking for a Master project), conduct kindness lessons — publish online manuals for schoolchildren where it is explained how to treat animals humanly.

"We also help animal shelters. We sterilize and cure animals, and supply feed. Quality food for dogs and cats is always in short supply. Sometimes we are asked to help raise money for obtaining a shelter cabin. Some situations can be unusual. Once a horse shelter contacted us. They asked to get medicines for foals," Svetlana says.

Svetlana Safonova, the Hope Givers foundation Director

The Hope Givers foundation is set up to exist on charitable contributions. Donations are made mainly through the charity service of the portal and the foundation’s website. The city helps place information about the foundation on street billboards. "We have a high trust rating: we report for each contribution on our portal, we write what the money was spent for," says Svetlana.

The foundation's website is also a place where search for “foster parents” is organized: the animal database is regularly updated there. The data on animals in need of a family is received from shelters, volunteers, and individuals. In addition, the Hope Givers foundation brings about 80 cats to charity exhibitions.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko,

The foundation pays special attention to cats and dogs having problems. For example, to those who live in the courtyards of high-rise residential buildings and cause discontent with some people. One of them is Gerda: she was thrown out of the house by former owners. The dog lived in the basement and was giving birth to puppies, and this circumstance irritated her neighbors from above. They wanted to euthanize Gerda. The Hope Givers employees sheltered the dog to find new owners for her. Finally, the family was found abroad — Gerda was taken for a disabled girl. The dog turned out to be a healer — she stops the child’s convulsions.

"Our animals are not only dogs and cats. Once, a reindeer was rescued: it was illegally kept and mocked in a private house. We sent the deer to a reserve. A year ago, our volunteers found an unfortunate rickety lion cub named Simba in a motor transport garage. He was handed over to the Wildlife Hospital. Now the cub is stronger, overgrown with fur. Hopefully, he will go to Africa soon," Svetlana Safonova says.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko,

Family for a big dog

Vera Mitina, president of the Nika charity aid foundation for homeless animals, is always on the move. The foundation has two shelters with about a thousand dogs and a hundred cats waiting for the owners.

"One shelter contains enclosures for dogs and a cabin for cats. The second one — Wet Nose — a new shelter built to meet European standards. It has warm rooms for animals, a clinic, and a sterilization centre," Vera says.

Dogs and cats get into the Nika from different places. It happens that owners die and the animals are left alone in the apartment. Then they are brought by representatives of the administration. Sometimes townspeople call and report that they found a stray animal. However, Vera Mitina and her colleagues do not always agree to adopt a tramp.

"We do not consider appeals sounding like "I was walking down the street and saw a cat", because, first, it may be someone's cat who just turned to be out of home. Secondly, we take, as a rule, social animals. Dogs and cats were stray animals for many generations, i. e. nearly wild, and they do not need people. It is most improbable that a stray animal can be adapted to living in an apartment. It is more expedient to spend energy on those who can be bred. Once an application is received, we can take a wild dog or cat for sterilization, chip it and send it to a habitat," Nika’s president explains.

Vera Mitina, President of the Nika charity aid foundation for homeless animals

But the foundation's employees would be at rescue together with veterinarians if the animal is in trouble: it will be cured and rehabilitated in the clinic.

Approximately 50 animals a month find a home largely thanks to volunteers. They place ads on social networks, call friends, take animals home to make their adaptation to future home conditions faster.

Благотворительный фонд помощи бездомным животным «Ника»

Nika foundation is supported by the Moscow Government. The foundation participates free of charge in city events, where it can raise funds for maintaining shelters and find owners for animals. In addition, the city helps get money through the charity service of the portal.

The foundation is especially happy when a family is found in difficult cases. "Once we received a very large alabai-sized dog. Meanwhile, it was outbred. Huge, but deep inside just a cub. No one wanted to take it, since such a giant will feel uncomfortable in an ordinary apartment. But everything came to a good end. Our colleague took the dog to her parents in a country house. Now they go hiking together," Vera Mitina says.

Благотворительный фонд помощи бездомным животным «Ника»

Donations and database

RAY charitable foundation works with 40 shelters in Moscow and the Moscow region, takes care of about 16 thousand dogs and cats. In 2019, the foundation began construction of a temporary home for animals, where they would be adapted to people. Another charitable foundation Virta holds regular exhibitions for potential owners, arranges lectures for volunteers and curators. Funds raised are sent for veterinary care.

There is also a Dogs Who Love foundation in Moscow. Its specialists buy food and medicines for shelter animals, cure and resuscitate the injured, wounded and sick animals taken on the streets. Another organization is Cats in the City. This is a hotline, where one can find out addresses of animal temporary homes, sterilizing or curing points.

The programs of all these non-profit organizations are presented in the charity service of Thanks to it, caring Muscovites can make donations, including in favor of homeless animals. The service appeared in the autumn of 2020. Since then over12 thousand people used it to transfer more than 6.7 million rubles to good deeds.


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