Struck by the devastating scenes in Ukraine, a young dog trainer is set to venture to the war torn country and offer her services to help animals and people affected by the conflict.
Nina Rogers has volunteered to help a team from the British Expeditionary Aid and Rescue (BEAR) to collect and transport aid to victims of the war in eastern Europe.
The 21-year-old from Tunbridge Wells offered her services to the organization to help animals suffering due to the conflict.
She said: “I have always wanted to work with street dogs, that’s always been my thing.
“I wrote a post about re-homing street dogs and I got chatting to somebody on Facebook was part of BEAR.
“We ended up chatting and I said I had a van to which they asked if I could come out and help so I volunteered.”
The trip will involve driving to BEAR’s station in Lviv where she will be given instructions about the best way she can help, delivering aid to animals and humans alike.
Nina said: “Due to the emergency of the situation, rehabilitation training can’t take place until dogs feel safe.
“My skills in dog training will help more in getting dogs off the streets, making them feel safe enough to come close to us, and in comfort until they can go to shelters and homes.”
She has currently raised £2,000 through her JustGiving page on her website which will help pay for the fuel and supplies for her trip to the frontline.
Nina said: “I wanted to do this because I understand street dogs. Having rehomed Arlo and seeing his amazing transformation after being adopted it is incredible.
“I have worked with so many street dogs and help them in trusting humans again.
“Arlo had never even seen a dog bed, he’d never been indoors before and was terrified to be in a house. He was so scared of everyone and everything and I’m so amazed to see how far he’s come.
“When I got talking to teams already in Ukraine I realized that there was so much more I could do than just write a post around helping them, I could actually help myself.”
‘When I got talking to teams already in Ukraine I realized that there was so much more I could do’
Nina was hesitant taking on such a task on her own because of her age but she hasn’t let that make her decision as she plans for her trip which she says could station her in Ukraine for months.
“I was a little apprehensive saying my age as I thought people might think it’s naivity or something but no, I have managed to organize all of this in the last week on my own so determination is pretty strong.
“I’ve always wanted to work with street dogs and I would love to open a rescue in the UK for the re-homing of street dogs but that’s future plans.”
Ms Rogers rescued a Bulgarian street dog and hopes to help other charities rescue more strays ready for adopting.
“At the moment I am working alongside this team as that’s where I am needed most but I am still in contact with where I got my dog,” she added.
‘My skills in dog training will help more in getting dogs off the streets’
“I got him at about 10 months old, he was transported from Rakitovo Animal Helpers charity in Bulgaria.
“We communicate a lot and I send them pictures of him so I am hoping to help them out as well in the future.”
Nina will be setting off on her journey on April 24 making her way to some of Ukraine’s worst hit places.
She will liaison with ex US military soldier Benjamin Reed in Belgium who will be her co-driver on the trip.
Donations are still welcome to donate and can do so via Ms Rogers’ website.
She said: “Because it’s just myself and my van we can’t take any more donations of food; what we need is funding. On my website we have a paypal link and a JustGiving page.
“If I can get enough funding I can get more vans meaning I can get more out there and do multiple trips.”