From Russia with love: Sad strays rescued from eastern Europe now in need of loving homes

An animal-lover from Dacorum has rescued three traumatised dogs from the state which ordered a cull of strays ahead of the Winter Olympics.

Silvi Sutherland of Hemel Hempstead’s Laidon Square, a volunteer for animal fostering charity Hearts & Paws UK, pumped thousands of pounds into bringing over a trio of cast-out canines who had been living in harsh conditions out in the wild near a holiday village 70km from Moscow.

Silvi Sutherland and two dogs rescued from Russia, Lischka and Senya. PNL-140503-161239001

Silvi Sutherland and two dogs rescued from Russia, Lischka and Senya. PNL-140503-161239001

The nation which is hosting showpiece Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi and has hit world headlines because of military intervention in the Ukraine, angered animal activists when it announced it would carry out a cull of dogs.

Silvi, who regularly fosters cats and dogs from Herts, Beds and Bucks, was moved by the plight of animals in the country and heard about the troubled trio through a Russian friend she met through working at a publishing company.

Silvi said: “Unfortunately life is very hard there for most people – so although some animals are lucky enough to have lovely homes, many don’t.

“Hearts & Paws does its best but it is only a little bit compared to what needs doing, both locally and over in Russia.”

The volunteer fell in love with dogs Kai, Senya and Lischka and has spent months organising their flights to the UK, as well as funding all their veterinary care including vaccinations and the treatment of wounds suffered during their distressing past.

Bearded collie cross Senya, whose name means senator in Russian, acted as a protector for 10-month old Lischka and her siblings during the biting winter.

While one of her sisters was rehomed by Silvi’s friend, the other was killed in front of her in a vicious attack by a man.

While Kai has already been rehomed by a Berkhamsted family, Silvi would love to find caring owners for the remaining pair.

Senya is a calm and friendly 18-month-old who needs lots of attention and exercise. Lischka, which means Little Fox, is a timid and frightened young dog who has been scarred by her difficult start in life, but is docile and in need of a patient family, preferably with experience in looking after rescue dogs.

Silvi, who has had lots of help and support with the adoption from Nine Lives vets in Redbourn, said: “As a charity we are looking for help and support – even a little bit is so much appreciated. Most of our work is local but this was a special project with Russian dogs, and we would love to be able to help more if we can.”

If you think you could give the Russian pooches a home, or want to donate or volunteer for Hearts and Paws, email Silvi on or call 07546573256. For more information visit Hearts And Paws UK on Facebook.