It was a warm late summer afternoon on the streets of Vinnytsia, Ukraine, and a very typical sight are the many street dogs seeking respite from the hot sun. Some ambling amidst the market stalls, while others cram under parked cars and in the shade of trees, Ukraine has an abundance of stray dogs.
The country is making a real effort to control the population effectively. FOUR PAWS works towards a humane and sustainable way to control the stray dog population, through spay and neuter campaigns, alongside providing veterinary care when needed, and improving public attitudes towards stray dogs in the country.
A new program was started in Ukraine called Animal Assisted Intervention (AAI), aimed at rescuing and training former stray dogs to become therapy dogs to support vulnerable members of communities. FOUR PAWS programs like this one already successfully running in Romania and Bulgaria.
Recently, a member of our Ukrainian team came across a sweet, medium-sized ginger-brown, stray dog. The foxy looking female was in search of human attention and it was already clear she had a loving and gentle nature.
Lisa became the first therapy dog in Ukraine
Due to a hard life on the streets, she needed time to heal from malnutrition. Along with months of positive and fun training with our behaviorists, this sweet dog began to flourish! Due to her striking color and unique look, she was named Lisa (Fox in Ukrainian).
Today, following her training, Lisa is able to play and communicate with children. She works as a therapy and stress relief dog for children with learning, physical or emotional difficulties.
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FOUR PAWS' Animal Assisted Interventions, Ukraine
The FOUR PAWS Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) program works with former stray dogs in Vinnytsia, Ukraine. The program’s primary focus is on changing attitudes and behaviors towards stray dogs, by showing to the public the ability of stray dogs to be socialized and trained to create strong human-animal bonds. This is demonstrated through emotionally therapeutic interactions between humans and dogs.
Our AAI team focuses on delivering the highest level of human and animal welfare standards and creating a strong network in Ukraine. The team also provides public awareness activities to promote animal welfare, responsible pet ownership, reward-based training approaches and adoption of stray dogs. Ian, one of our team members, teaches animal psychology at a Ukrainian university where he integrates animal welfare components and shows psychology students how reward-based training approaches can benefit human-animal interactions especially in the field of AAI, and responsible pet ownership in general. Read more about our work in Ukraine here.