The war in Ukraine still rages on, with hundreds of dead soldiers every day. We don’t know the number of pets and animals that have died so far, but it’s easily in high thousands. Pets have been displaced when their owners fled their homes or were killed during the war, leaving many dogs and cats without shelter.
Many would leave their countries even if you just mention war and leave their pets behind. Not Asya Serpinska, though. When the shelling started near Kyiv, she went to her animal shelter in Hostomel and has stayed there even now. Many have left their jobs, but Asya refuses to give up. With the help of a few colleagues, she has saved over 700 dogs, 100 cats, and even a lion. Yep, you read that right.
Asya says that she was always stubborn, and that’s what pushes her to help all distraught animals. When the war started, many animal shelter owners couldn’t care about the animals and opened their cages so they fled. Asya stayed behind and was devastated to see many emaciated animals on the streets. She made it her mission to save them all, and stayed behind as her family and friends ran away.
When a shell landed at a nearby private zoo, it killed most of the exotic animals. Asya was heartbroken until she saw that the lion survived. They also rescued some peacocks and turtles while battling a deadly fire in the zoo. They fed the lion every day for five months because he was locked in a cage. Russian soldiers placed a mine in front of the cage one day in order to kill it. Asya negotiated and offered two packs of cigarettes to turn them away.
They promised they would leave, but detonated the mine first. The good news is that the lion was safe in his cage, and she continued feeding him every day until Ukrainian forces recaptured Hostomel.
She says that now she’s rebuilding the shelter while feeding and caring for hundreds of pets. She says that to save animals is to be human, and we couldn’t agree more. We need more people like Asya Serpinska, especially in times like these.