Three years ago, a dog fell down through an exposed drain, into Ukraine’s underground heating system, and had been stuck there ever since.
Kind people had noticed her, and threw food down to it upon hearing the dog, but they could not rescue the poor animal. Animal activists and rescuers including dog handlers eventually learned of the story as well, but still no one was willing or able to navigate the tricky and intricate system of underground passages to rescue the dog.
Over the next three years, one girl contacted the Ministry for Emergency Situations again and again for help, but was turned down each time with the excuse that this was not their jurisdiction. Finally, she found an organization that could help.
“For three years!!—years, not a day, a week, or even a month—the unfortunate animal was not pulled out!” wrote Elena Omelchenko in a Facebook post. “How did you sleep at night, knowing that she is there?”
Omelchenko is a volunteer at the Nikopol dog shelter, and when they learned of this girl’s story of the dog stuck underground for three years, they knew they had to help.
“Yes, our hands are bitten. Yes, it was our most difficult rescue yet. But we are happy that we saved her,” Omelchenko wrote. Another volunteer, Sasha Dunaev, managed the feat and, not giving up despite the dog’s evasions, brought her to safety.
They named the terrified dog Alexandra, and brought her to their shelter where, slowly, she re-acclimated to people, other dogs, and the sounds and smells of the world around her.
Omelchenko noticed Alexandra was constantly trying to hide, so they placed a large armchair near the corner and the dog created a safe space for herself.
“It takes time for her to remember how to live a normal life,” Omelchenko wrote. “If there was a person who could give her much more time, warmth, caring and affection that a shelter, her adjustment period would be much less!”