Wednesday 14 June 2023

Cat adopts an American volunteer for K9 Rescue International in Ukraine where things are getting better

NEWS AND VIEWS - UKRAINE: This is a nice letter from an American man, Tom Bates, who has been in Ukraine since March 2022, volunteering his services for K9 Rescue International. His letter is published on the Key Peninsula News website. He's been rescuing and evacuating animals; bringing food to hungry animals and travelling through many zones of conflict dodging Russian rockets and artillery fire. 

MacDonald's to reopen some restaurants in Ukraine
MacDonald's to reopen some restaurants in Ukraine. Image: Shutterstock.

When he first arrived in Ukraine things were bad, he says. It was grim and he still can't speak decent Ukrainian which doesn't surprise me because it takes a long time to learn a foreign language.

But some good things have happened. Firstly, a cat adopted him he says. He named the cat Bob. And he says that when he returns home to America, he is bringing Bob with him. I like that. He's rescued a cat in need in a war zone and he is going to give the cat a good life in a good country. That is about as good as you can do in terms of animal welfare as an individual person doing their bit.

The second bit of good news is this: things are beginning to get back to normal despite the war continuing. I guess this is the case because the war is confined more and more to eastern Ukraine and in the south. The other areas, thankfully - and I hope this continues - are fairly normal such as life in the capital Kyiv. Although Putin has hinted that he might try and take Kyiv a second time. Although that would be a new mobilisation which would be incredibly unpopular and it might fail bearing in mind that around 300,000 men left the country last time they were mobilised.

Another good sign that things are returning to normal and I hope it stays that way (there is no certainty) is that McDonald's restaurants are beginning to reopen across Ukraine.

When the war started, MacDonald closed every restaurant in Ukraine and donated all their food to the military. They continue to pay all employees their full wage. Pretty amazing. But now the stores are opening again of course the employees can come back and the general public are very thankful because Bates says that "Cars wrap around several blocks for the drive through. Lines of people flow out the doors for 100 yards. Every table is full."

Ukrainians have missed their McDonald's. Car dealerships have cars on show and some checkpoints have been dismantled. People are smiling more and of course the warm weather helps.

This is just a little glimpse of life from the point of view of a volunteer helping out with animal welfare in a country ravaged by death and destruction to both animal and person. But as mentioned it is focused on certain areas so the mood has lifted.

It is said that it will cost around $500 billion to rebuild the country. As I understand it, the West has frozen almost $400 billions of Russian assets which can be used.

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