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The Plight of No Flights for International Dog Rescues

International dog rescues are looking to the skies, but flights are few and far between as shelters fill and adopters wait. The pandemic has created a perfect storm of demand for rescue dogs in North America, and peril for street dogs as poverty levels rise.

A Unique and Frustrating Problem

dog at Sochi Dogs

As COVID-19 has surged across the United States a silver lining has emerged. Families from coast to coast, stuck at home, decided it was time to rescue a family dog. Local shelters emptied as people found comfort and companionship in furry friends.

But this enthusiasm to foster and adopt has created a unique and frustrating problem for international dog rescues like Sochi Dogs in Morristown, New Jersey. Adopters and foster families queue up, but no international flights are in the air to bring rescued pets from Russia to the US shelter. Plus, the economic impact of the pandemic in hard-hit countries like Russia has increased the number of abandoned pets. It has also strained the abilities of shelters there to save them.

Efforts in Russia


Rescues like Sochi Dogs are stepping up to these challenges. Since the pandemic began, the Russian branch of the organization has been supporting dogs who once relied on restaurants for food. They’re rescuing dogs who would otherwise not survive on the street, like Gloria. 

In April, Sochi Dogs found Gloria with bb-gun pellets in her leg. After surgery to remove the fragments, Gloria recovered at the shelter. Now she even has a family excited to give her a forever home in New Jersey. But Gloria, like so many dogs rescued during the pandemic, has no way of getting there.

A Word From the Founders

dogs eating at Sochi Dogs

Tanya Umansky, co-founder of Sochi Dogs, says, “Sadly, we have many local adopters and more willing foster families than ever before ready to help these dogs in the US. We just can’t get them here.” Anna Umansky, president and co-founder, echoes this, saying, “Our inability to help meet the demand for great dogs to loving families has truly been an unexpected consequence of the pandemic. We need flights to resume and better access to tickets for animal transport.” 

Sochi Dogs is doing everything they can to help dogs like Gloria get home. But the impact the pandemic has had on the economy and travel industry is rippling through the dog rescue world. Still, while these dogs wait to fly home, your support has helped keep them fed, healthy, and sheltered. But perhaps if you have a private jet, you could give them a rescue ride!