Aaron Jackson has an uncanny ability to appear at the right place at the right moment.
When the founder of the nonprofit group Planting Peace learned that aid was needed near the Poland-Ukraine border, he stepped on a plane right away. “When it all started two weeks ago, I was just reading news reports and seeing news video,” Jackson told The Dodo. “I heard a story about these immigrants staying in a train station and how cold it was, and I got a plane ticket and traveled over that day about two hours after reading that article.”
Jackson had not planned on concentrating his efforts on assisting refugees with dogs, but upon his arrival, he saw the critical necessity to keep these families together.
“With two million people fleeing Ukraine, the bulk of them coming into Poland, finding shelter has become exceedingly difficult,” Jackson added. “When you have a cat or dog, it’s considerably more complicated since there are limited areas and not every place accepts animals.”
Jackson and his crew have been tasked with locating migrants with pets in need of long-term shelter, and only a few days ago, they landed in the perfect spot once more.
When a family approached Jackson, he had gone by a local animal shelter to give assistance and was conversing with the director outside. Bella, a lovely cocker spaniel, walked in front of them on a leash.
“It was really awesome the stars aligned like that,” Jackson said.
“They’re actually refugees and want to surrender their dog to us because they’re homeless and don’t have someplace to go, and they don’t want their dog to be out in the cold,” the shelter director stated after speaking with the family.
Jackson was able to find the family pet-friendly accommodation in less than 20 minutes. Everyone’s faces lit up with delight, especially Bella’s, who couldn’t stop wagging her tail.
Planting Peace is supplying pet food and carriers to the nine main refugee facilities established up along the border, in addition to connecting families with secure lodging. After a lengthy travel, he wants displaced individuals and their dogs to be greeted with nutritious meals.
“You have these families that have gone 100, 200 miles to come to the border, and 50 of those miles have been walked with a dog on their back,” Jackson explained. “So if someone is prepared to do that for their dog, I’m not going to tell them, ‘You have to get rid of your dog in order to get accommodation.'”