Edmonds residents headed for Poland to help animals displaced by war

Photos courtesy ADA Foundation of Przemysl, Poland

Trapped in the Russia-Ukraine war are uncounted thousands of animals – pets lost or abandoned, farm animals and even zoo animals. Two Edmonds residents are heading to a Polish town just 30 minutes from the war zone to help veterinarians care for hundreds of those animals.

In just one veterinary clinic in Przemysl, Poland, volunteer couriers who brave shelling in the Ukraine war zone have delivered more than 350 lost or abandoned animals. This one clinic is part of national Polish alliance, the ADA Foundation, working to save as many animals as they can.

Veterinarians at work. (Photo courtesy ADA Foundation Clinic of Przemysl, Poland)

That’s where Dan Fine and Tana Axtelle are going next Monday. They will spend most of the month of April working with doctors Jakub Kotowicz and Radosław Fedaczyńsky and their staff at this ADA clinic.

CNN reported on the Przemysl clinic that the two will go to, in a special story on “The Dogs of War: the Conflict in Ukraine.”

Dan Fine with his dog Kal-El. (Photo courtesy Dan Fine)

Dan Fine is a semi-retired internet entrepreneur with strong ties to Ukraine. His company, Fine Solutions, worked with Microsoft to field test a program in Ukraine 14 years ago. When that project finished, a number of the young Ukrainian engineers opened their own companies and Fine set up an office in Kyiv to help them. He kept the office for 10 years; his one-time office manager has now fled the war and her husband, Fine said, has stayed behind to fight. In his spare time Fine has also worked with therapy dogs for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Tana Axtelle and Strummer (Photo courtesy Tana Axtelle)

Tana Axtelle works with K-9 Companions in Santa Rosa, California. K-9 Companions, founded in 1975, provides service dogs to adults, children, and veterans with disabilities as well as dogs to those in health care and the police in Washington and seven other Northwest states.

She gets puppies at eight weeks old and trains them for two years before they go on to those who are physically challenged, have emotional or PTSD needs or are hearing impaired. Her dog, Strummer, had worked as a K-9 companion.

Axtelle said her family has been supportive in a “reserved way”; her one daughter – who also loves to work with animals – is anxious that Mom will be gone. “You gotta live your life and this is one area that I’m passionate about,” Axtelle said. “I don’t really know what to expect,” she added. “It’s fluid over there and I don’t want to go there and be a burden” to the people she will work with.

The Polish clinic, said Fine, has approved the trip and is looking forward to the assistance. It helped expedite their visas and other paperwork, and even found them temporary lodging. Fine admits that his wife, Kim, “isn’t happy; she’s concerned but supportive.” He looks at the trip like this: “You just gotta step up and do things. I’m at a time in my life when I can step up.” The pair will help support the clinic staff. “I am hoping to help relieve some of the stress that the people really in the thick of this are feeling.” Axtelle said, ”if I can go over and say, ‘Hey, let me do it’ and give them time to recuperate, that would be great.”

Dr. Radosław Fedaczyńsky of the clinic told Polish reporters that “some of the dogs and animals we get are so weak and undernourished there is nothing we can do for them. It’s very distressing.” The goal is to treat and save as many as they can and either keep them for their owners until the fighting stops or put them up for adoption if owners cannot be found.

Fine and Axtelle are taking supplies with them. They have been working with South Snohomish County vets to acquire everything from non-prescription eye and ear medication to food supplements, oxygen rescue masks, bandages, and a long list of other things the clinic can use. Scroll to the bottom of this story for supplies they need, each of which are linked to the item on Amazon. The clinic, said Fine, does not need pet food; local veterinarians in Poland are helping to supply that.

Fine has confirmed that Amazon will ship anything ordered on their website directly to Poland – those ordering through Amazon do not have to ship. The company’s warehouses in Poland will deliver to the ADA clinic. Fine provided this address to use as the “shipping to” address on Amazon orders. He said items will go directly to the clinic: Jana Zamoyskiego 15, 37-700 Przemyśl, Poland

They know they cannot take prescription medicines from vets here into Poland, but they are encouraging pet owners who no longer need some medications to donate those to the project.  Fine believes they can be shipped to the clinic. Donations of supplies and equipment only may be made by emailing Dan Fine: dan@fine.com  They are not soliciting any monetary donations until they get to the Poland clinic to see if a secure funding site can be set up. We will update our reporting on that as soon as we have the information.

Fine has also secured some bulletproof vests and tactical gear for the couriers who drive into Ukraine to retrieve the animals. That may have to be shipped; he said he is hopeful that they can be delivered within a week.

A woman carrying her dog to the Polish border
(Photo courtesy MFA of Ukraine, a government organization)

Dan Fine and Tana Axtelle know they are just two among millions caught up by the searing images of violence and despair of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Like the rest of us, they’ve been overwhelmed by those scenes. They hope they can make a difference, no matter how small –“sitting here and watching, it’s hard.” Axtelle said; “being able to maybe be of some help and assistance” is what they will try.

— By Bob Throndsen

Supply list available on Amazon

(Reminder: Ship to Jana Zamoyskiego 15, 37-700 Przemyśl, Poland)

OptixCare Eye Lube Plus + Hyaluron 20g for Dog Cat Horses

Zymox Pet King Brand Otic Pet Ear Treatment with Hydrocortisone

Purina Fortiflora Cat Probiotic Powder Supplement, Pro Plan Veterinary Supplements Probiotic Cat Supplement

AUPCON Vet Wrap Cohesive Bandages Bulk Self Adhesive Bandage Wrap

Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Pet Shampoo

Home Vet Bag

Dog or Cat Oxygen Therapy Rescue Mask

Manruta 10 Pack 12mm Length Pet ID Microchip Tags with Syringe ISO 11784/11785 and FDX-B Standard 134.2Khz for Animal Identification with “microchipped” Stainless Tag

6 Foot Slip Lead, Slip Leads, Kennel Leads with O Ring for Dog Pet Animal Control

iProven Pet Thermometer (Termometro) for Accurate Fever Detection

Pet Health Pharma Truseb | Chlorhexidine Spray for Dogs & Cats – Ketoconazole with Aloe & Vitamin E, Hot Spot, Itch Relief, Dry Skin, Allergy Relief, Rashes

FRONTLINE Plus Flea and Tick Treatment for Cats

RAPICCA Animal Handling Gloves Bite Proof Kevlar Reinforced Leather Padding

ROZKITCH Pet Dog Support Harness Rear Lifting Harness

Coodeo Dog Lift Harness, Full Body Support & Recovery Sling, Pet Rehabilitation Lifts Vest Adjustable Breathable Straps for Old, Disabled, Joint Injuries, Arthritis, Paralysis Dogs Walk

PetHonesty 10 in 1 Dog Multivitamins with Glucosamine

3M Littmann Classic III Monitoring Stethoscope

Medical Scissors Trauma Shears

Sterile Sutures Thread with Needle Plus Tools

Disposable Skin Stapler (Suture Thread Alternative) with 55 Preloaded Wires Plus Stapler Remover Tool

Cynamed 2-in-1 Ear Scope Set – Multi-Function Otoscope for Ear, Nose & Eye Examination

Self-Sterilization Pouches for Cleaning Tools

Cynamed T/C Adson Plastic Surgery Forceps 4.75″ Straight Fine Point with Tungsten Carbide Inserts

BSTEAN Plastic Syringe Pack with Needles and Caps for Pet Feeding, Lab Measurement

Premium CYNAMED USA 157 Pieces Instruments KIT Veterinary Scissors Forceps Needle Holder Scalpel

MERIC Refractometer for Pet Urine, Accurate Measuring Device for Specific Gravity, Compact and Portable Tool

Ultrasonic Cleaner 10L Digital Cleaning Machine

Cat/Dog/Animal/Vet Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor Electronic Sphygmomanometer Tonometer SPO2 Tongue Probe

LEIZENG 10pcs Veterinary Suture Needles For Animal surgical needle and Fur Sew Tool

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Real first and last names — as well as city of residence — are required for all commenters.
This is so we can verify your identity before approving your comment.