Doug Thron travels around the world to save abandoned pets during natural disasters. Amid events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires, he uses his drone to locate life in destroyed buildings. He recently moved his rescue work to Kyiv, Ukraine, to save all the innocent pets that are trapped in the rubble.
The infrared camera on the drone allows Thron to see pets in the building that would’ve been missed otherwise. So, the Florida resident is now rescuing and finding homes for many dogs and cats who were abandoned amid the Russian invasion.
The Scariest Mission So Far
Thron arrived in Ukraine on June 2nd, months after the invasion began. Most of Kyiv’s buildings are destroyed at this point, and pets that were left behind have been struggling to survive on their own. So, Thron flies his drone near the rubble to detect the body heat of animals and pinpoint their locations.
“This is my scariest mission so far,” Thron said. “It’s mind-boggling. These towns look like they’ve been ripped apart by a combination of a hurricane and a wildfire. We’re going into these buildings looking for animals and are always on the lookout for strings across the stairwells that are tied to grenades [left by the Russian soldiers]. It definitely gets your heart beating pretty fast.”
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Military security personnel and Ryan Okrant from ASSERT Drone Animal Rescue assist Thron every night as he searches for signs of life. Thron said most families had to flee Kyiv in a hurry while others were killed trying to escape. So, the circumstances for each pet being abandoned are unknown, but they all deserve love.
Most of the dogs and cats are friendly because they’re used to living in a home environment. But, of course, some are more skittish than usual. Dogs are terrified of loud sounds like fireworks, so it hurts to imagine their reaction to their home being bombed.
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Ukraine Pets Need Support
Some of the pets approach rescuers without hesitation while others need a bit more coaxing. Thron uses the drone to figure out if any pets are alone in the building remains. Then, volunteers carefully come near the animals and lure them with food and humane traps as needed.
Thron said seeing the damage in person is hard to stomach, but it’s worth it to see the gratitude in these animals’ eyes. He added that dying isn’t his biggest concern during this situation because there are lot more risks involved than in his usual missions, which are documented on his show, Doug to the Rescue.
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“I’m not afraid of dying,” Thron said. “It doesn’t worry me so much. But it’s the thought of becoming a prisoner of war or stepping on a landmine that definitely keeps me from sleeping too well at night.”
Thron needs all the help he can get to save these dogs and cats. If you want to support his work, consider donating to his GoFundMe.
Featured Image: Instagram