Elena, Irina, Karina and Yulija, young women with different backgrounds, met in Georgia. They connected over their shared interest for documentary movies about animal rescue and established an organization and foundation – “Dogcat_Batumi” to raise funds and help stray animals. “Dogcat_Batumi” gained many followers and volunteers. Its main objective is to help stray animals in Batumi, and Georgia. What is special about the organization is that its founders monitor stray dogs and cats in the city. They do not have a shelter, but thanks to donations, they are able to look after stray animals in need, feed them and raise awareness about animal care in society.

Elena came to Georgia from Russia in 2018 as a tourist but she fell in love with Batumi and decided to spend more time in the city. It took 6 months for Elena to adapt to a new environment. She made friends with Irina, Karina and Yulija with whom she founded “Dogcat_Batumi”.

Irina worked as a DJ in Ukraine. She arrived in Georgia 2012 as a tourist thinking that Georgia was a “poor post-soviet country in the ruins” but her views on Georgia changed as soon as she landed in Batumi. She has felt comfortable in Georgia since her first day in the country and does not plan to leave. Irina, her husband and their 3-year-old cat - Epa live happily in Georgia. Even though they do not speak Georgian, they have never had issues when communicating with the locals in Russian.

Karina was raised in Russia but lived in Ukraine before moving to Batumi 6 years ago. Like her friends Elena and Irina, Karina also came to Georgia as a tourist but after spending more time in the country than initially planned, Karina met a person with whom she created a Georgian-Ukrainian family. Karina says, it took 2 years for her to adapt to Batumi but now she is happy to be living with her husband and a cat in Batumi and she has been in the process of obtaining a Georgian residence permit. Her first attempt was not successful, even though Karina says, she meets all criteria.

Yulija was living in Belarus when she received a job offer from one of the casinos in Batumi. She accepted the offer and moved to Georgia in 2018 with her husband. Unfortunately, casino closed due to the pandemic. Yulija and her Belarusian husband have not made any major decisions about their future yet as they live very comfortably in Batumi with their 2 adopted dogs.

“With our work we try to show people that they should not turn away from stray animals in need. They don’t need much. Sometimes, even a loaf of bread can save a life” say “Dogcat_Batumi” founders.

Photo by Eric Gourlan

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