How you can help pets and people in Ukraine
I have been trying to minimize my news ‘consumption’ to the point of staying informed but not getting sucked into a vortex of sadness. I have also had a closer insight into the lives of the people in Ukraine through conversations with my Ukrainian friend Yuliya, whose father and neighbours fled as the Russian army approached their neighbourhood. Thankfully, they are now on a train to Poland and I hope for their safe passage. Yuliya also has many friends who are still back in Ukraine.
I am fully aware that some of you would prefer that I just stick to talking about health, but I believe that there are times when I must address what is going on in the world. I also believe that if our community actively participates in making the world a better and more peaceful place it benefits our mental and physical health, which has a direct effect on the wellbeing of our animal friends.
Since Putin — who is, in my opinion, one of the most gravely mentally ill people — started a war, I have been asking myself “Why?” In my last blog, I wrote about the topic of trauma, and I had been wondering whether he possibly went off-the-rails due to some sort of trauma he might have suffered through when he was growing up.
I am not trying to make excuses for Putin’s actions, but this is an opportunity for all of us to ask how we can prevent history from repeating itself. Imagine if we were able to address the effects of trauma before it caused harm or destroyed the lives of others. This could be our hope for the future.
When I planned to write this piece I pondered over the fact that some people cope much better during difficult times than others do. They seem to be more resilient and do not appear to be as affected as others.
It might be because of how they are “wired” or perhaps it is because they proactively try to help, rather than just gluing themselves to their screens feeling helpless.
In my previous messages, I mentioned how important it is to turn off our screens and limit our time spent online, but there has to be a balance to stay informed about how we can help.
Here are 5 points on how to help while also remaining emotionally and mentally balanced:
- Stay informed by reading a synopsis of daily news but try to avoid extended news watching or reading.
- Contact people you know who are in Ukraine or have relatives there to see if there is anything you can do to help them. Ways to help include holding a fundraiser, providing shelter to refugees who will be coming to the west, donating to an established charity, or buying from companies who donate part of their proceeds to Ukrainian causes.
For example, I have been in close contact with my friend whose father, along with his neighbours and their cat, fled Ukraine (FYI Her father is 60 years old, so he is not subject to the draft). They really wanted to stay and help the soldiers, but they finally agreed to leave and head to Poland. From there they will go to Slovakia, and then on to the Czech Republic where they have friends and I am able to provide them with some support.
The beautiful part of all this is how many people are opening their homes to refugees, and are ready to help in any way. This is an undeniable reminder that most people are essentially kind, caring, and good. We just need to be more effective at recognizing and stopping a few sociopaths and criminals from taking the world hostage. Perhaps a psychological evaluation should be mandatory for any elected officials? We do this for many professions, why not for politicians? I am quite certain many of them would fail.
- Consider putting a limit on how much you participate in conversations about the war, because talking about it doesn’t make as much of a difference as taking action does.
- Think about how and where you can help, because taking meaningful action will make you feel better. You can consider making a donation or helping a particular family, group, or organization that you know of. Animals and children are the most vulnerable in areas of conflict, and giving to causes that support them is especially meaningful. If you know of any animal or children-focused charities participating in rescue efforts in Ukraine, please reply to this message with some details.
- My team and I organized a fundraiser to support an animal rescue organization looking after homeless or abandoned pets in Ukraine, as well as families in need with pets.
One more thing. I realize that most of the world’s empathy and support are directed towards Ukraine, but we also mustn’t forget about the suffering of the Russian people who have been thrown into this conflict against their will. They are like you and me; they were just born in the wrong place at the wrong time.
I trust you will understand that this is an exceptional situation, and I do not plan to write about politics and state affairs often.
I am thinking of you all and hope we will make a difference together. ❤️🇺🇦🌎✌️