Maidenhead Synagogue's pet project answers Ukrainian SOS

Shul dispatches a truck-load of pet food for dogs and cats left behind by refugees with family and friends


When Maidenhead Synagogue asked the Ukrainians who attend the English class it runs what relatives back home were most in need of, the answer was a surprise. Rather than medicine or blankets, it was pet food.

With many refugees unable to take their pets with them, thousands of dogs and cats were left behind with family and friends, who are struggling to meet their own needs, let alone those of the animals.

The Reform congregation’s minister, Rabbi Jonathan Romain, emailed members asking for donations. The response was overwhelming, leading to a truck laden with supplies leaving Maidenhead for Ukraine.

“Dog lovers and cat owners will understand very well that pets are not just animals but are part of the family,” Rabbi Romain said.

“So it is an enormous comfort for those who have had to leave their beloved pets behind to know they will be fed properly.”

One supporter of the campaign was Anna, owner of a golden labrador, who said: “I know how bad I feel when I have to leave my dog alone for a day. So I can imagine the sadness of those who have had to give up their pets completely. It’s good to help this massive tragedy in a small way.”

Among those who both donated food and helped load the truck were synagogue members Lord and Lady Leigh of Hurley.

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