Life has been hard for some of these dogs; even before, some had no owners. Southeast Portland is stepping up.

PAIGE WALLACE - Abby Mather, communing with Ukranian rescue dog Kiev. Two dogs rescued from the war in Ukraine charmed customers at Sellwood Pet Supply on Saturday, August 6. The store, the dogs' foster families, and a local dog rescue group organized the adoption showcase in hopes of finding a forever home for each of the homeless dogs.

Kiev, an adorably scruffy mid-sized black mix, greeted humans and dogs enthusiastically as they entered the store at 8334 S.E. 17th Avenue. The other dog, Carolina (and nicknamed Cora), mostly slept alongside a volunteer-staffed booth which was decorated with sunflowers and the Ukrainian flag. A few customers interacted with the pups, asked about their personalities, and took information about adopting them. But, there were more than two available!

Cora and Kiev were among ten pups evacuated to Portland by a coalition of U.S. dog rescue organizations. Meantime, Oregon Dachshund Rescue (ODR) is the longtime Sellwood-Moreland nonprofit involved locally, even though there were no dachshunds in the group.

All ten dogs were under a year old, and of mixed breeds; the animals were thought to have been living either on the streets or in bombed-out animal shelters in the Ukraine — which, as you know, Russia invaded in February and continues to attack on multiple fronts. Rescuers managed to get these dogs out of the country, and first took them to a Romanian shelter. From there the pups flew to Frankfurt, then on to Seattle. A caravan of fosters then drove them south to Portland on June 28th.

Longtime Oregon Dachshund Rescue volunteer Carolyn Kofahl got one week's notice of the need to round up local foster families, but she was 100% committed to the cause, no matter how difficult it might prove to be. "I'd been trying to find a way to help the Ukraine. When this opportunity came up I was, like, 'this is my jam'. This is what I can do," she explained.

PAIGE WALLACE - Store employee Ben Dunning meeting Ukrainian rescue dog Carolina (Cora). The store's event and outreach coordinator, Aileen Kwang-Valadez, was thrilled to host the adoption event and share these dogs with customers. "It's a great way to help animals, promote rescues, and connect with our community," she reflected. "We're big supporters of adoption, and we're happy to help facilitate that any way we can."

Kofahl called Kiev a "happy boy" and "a really good dog for a senior person". Abby Mather, who is fostering Cora, said the dog "will love getting spoiled" and being "somebody's only little Ukrainian princess".

Despite hosting 17 foster dogs to date, Mather's Ukrainian rescue dogs have been her most challenging — and most rewarding. She explained how one had hidden in his crate for days after arrival — and she cried tears of joy when he first jumped up onto the couch beside her. She believes these animals had never been inside a house before coming to Oregon. Kofahl said her foster pups didn't know how to eat out of a bowl, or to go for walks.

Mather wants adopters to understand that these pups will require plenty of patience. "I think we're all excited that we can have a dog that has a place in history, or that we can help a dog that's coming from a very difficult situation," she explained. "But just be committed to that dog, and know that they have special needs, because of what they've gone through."

She choked up when asked if this fostering experience has shaped her perspective on war. "The dogs didn't ask for it, and they don't understand it," Mather lamented. "So all they know is loud noises, and [that] people they did know and trust had disappeared."

To see Cora, Kiev, and other adoptable dogs that ODR has helped bring over from Ukraine, as well as their local available dachshunds, go online — www.HYPERLINK ""

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