77-year-old woman risks her life to care for more than 700 animals in the shelter

A lot of people in Ukraine left their pets because of the war between their country and Russia. But there was an old woman who risk her life just to protect those poor animals who didn’t know what is happening in the country. The woman named Asya Serpinska is 77-year-old, and instead of running away and being safe, she put herself in danger because of her animal shelter in Hostomel, in a town above Kyiv.

The woman had 600 dogs and 100 cats at her shelter when the war began. She ended up taking in a variety of abandoned zoo animals. Her life was also threatened by the Russian soldiers many times, but she continues to stand her ground for the sake of the poor animals.

Even though there was a danger surrounding her, Asya witnessed a private zoo nearby that go in flames. Maybe the owner of the shelter abandoned the facility and leave the animals to fend for themselves. So Asya didn’t think twice, she and her team faced the big smoke to rescue as many animals as possible, including peacocks and turtles. And there was a lion who only survived that Asya’s team was unable to take it.

“Only the lion got left behind, for five weeks, we would go there under shelling and bullets to feed that lion because it had been locked in a cage and we didn’t have the keys,” Asya said.

When the Russian soldier placed the mine near the lion’s cage so the old woman negotiates to prevent them from killing the innocent ones. The soldiers detonated the mine, and luckily the lion survived. The shelter volunteers keep bringing food and water to the animals until Ukrainian soldiers reclaimed the area again.

Finally, the Ukrainian force took over the Hostomel again, but they faced many hard situations when the Russian troops are there. Sadly, Asya’s dog named Gina has been killed by the Russian soldiers. Asya said that Gina was barking at the soldier through the fence, so he shot her. At that time Asya was heartbroken, but her pain didn’t let her stop from helping the other animals.

The Russian soldiers came to the shelter many times after that, Luckily Asya was still alive after each incident. Russian troops locked everyone inside the shelter and hold them while they were putting some land mines at the door, and the troops told them that if they open the door, the mine will kill them. When the Ukrainian troops rescued them and realized that there was no land mine at the door. Maybe the Russian troops just said that to scare them.

Asya was so strong and brave because every time she faces the Russian troops she was totally scared and terrified. But because of her animals, she never runs away.

“It doesn’t matter who you protect: children, people, animals, nature. The most important thing is a responsibility, rescue animals to remain human.” Asya said.

Now, Russia is no longer in control of Hostomel, and the whole town is now quiet. Asya’s shelter is still in a rough situation and doesn’t have its electricity back. Asya is still working to rebuild it by working on her own and gathering some donations to find more safe homes for the poor animals.

No matter what happened, the innocent animals look so happy.  It’s because Asya and her team did everything just to make sure the animals are all safe during the terrible invasion of Russian troops.

Hoping for the two countries to have their peace back, so the innocent ones will not be implicated. And a big salute to this old woman who stood up no matter how dangerous it is.

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