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Amid Moscow lockdown, some dogs find new homes and friends

by KIRILL ZARUBIN Associated Press from MOSCOW

MAY 4, 2020 - MOSCOW (AP) — Stuck at home during Moscow's coronavirus lockdown, Alexandra Novatova opted to use a delivery service — a big decision, because she was ordering more than a pizza or a shipment of toilet paper. 

139809In this photo taken on Saturday, April 25, 2020, Alexandra Novatova, left, and Anastasia Medvedeva, one of the organizers of the online adoption initiative called "Happiness Delivered At Home", both wearing face masks and gloves to protect from coronavirus, pet Barly, the two year old mutt dog at Novatova's apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Alexandra Novatova opted to use a delivery service a big decision because she was ordering more than a pizza or a shipment of toilet paper. She got a dog brought to her door. With humans spending all day at home, it's an opportune period to find the time to acclimate a new dog and an online project is capitalizing on this to match shelter dogs with people.AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko 

She got a dog brought to her door.

She chose the mutt, a shepherd mix with a scythe-like curved tail, from a 12-hour online broadcast. Animal shelter volunteers showed dogs and cats to try to match them with humans.

139810In this photo taken on Saturday, April 25, 2020, Anastasia Medvedeva, one of the organizers of the online adoption initiative called "Happiness Delivered At Home", pets Ratna, about 3 year old hunting dog, left, and Goldy about 6 year mixed toy terrier, prior to an online broadcast to show dogs and cats to try to match them with owners in Moscow, Russia. Medvedeva said her project wants to make sure that the animals aren't adopted just as a temporary salve to the tedium and loneliness of lockdown. With humans spending all day at home, it's an opportune period to find the time to acclimate a new dog and an online project is capitalizing on this to match shelter dogs with people.AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko 

The lockdown, which will extend at least through May 12, has been hard on dogs in some ways — their daily walks are supposed to go no farther than 100 meters from home, and owners 65 years and older are told to stay indoors except for buying groceries and medication. But it also has some bright spots.

People in isolation, looking for animal companionship, are adopting dogs. And many dogs are making new friends, as volunteers walk the pets of elderly people.

139813In this photo taken on Monday, April 27, 2020, volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva, wearing a face mask and gloves to protect from coronavirus, walks with Russian pensioner Margarita Donchenko's dog in a courtyard outside of the apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Donchenko knows how much attention a dog needs and she is glad that when she can't give her fluffy little black-and-white pooch what she needs, there's volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva to show up once a day for a walk.AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko 

"People are spending a lot of time at home during the pandemic. I realized that people now have more free time, they can adopt pets without taking a vacation or arranging extra days off," said Anastasia Medvedeva, one of the organizers of the online adoption initiative "Happiness Delivered At Home."

"Because when you adopt a pet, you need a certain amount of time for it to become accustomed to its new environment. Now it's a perfect time to adopt a cat or a dog," she said.

139811In this photo taken on Saturday, April 25, 2020, Anastasia Medvedeva, one of the organizers of the online adoption initiative called "Happiness Delivered At Home", sits with Ratna, 3 year old hunting dog, left, and Goldy, 6 year mixed toy terrier, during an online broadcast to show dogs and cats to try to match them with people, in Moscow, Russia. Medvedeva said her project wants to make sure that the animals aren't adopted just as a temporary salve to the tedium and loneliness of lockdown. With humans spending all day at home, it's an opportune period to find the time to acclimate a new dog and an online project is capitalizing on this to match shelter dogs with people.AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko 

Medvedeva said her project tries to ensure that the animals aren't adopted just as a temporary salve to the tedium and loneliness of lockdown.
"We have quite experienced curators. ... They conduct rigorous interviews. We naturally ask: Do you understand what will happen next?" she said.
That issue was on Novatova's mind, too.

"The first thing I did was ask myself whether I'm doing this for the time of the pandemic or for life, whether I'll be able to sit at home with a dog without the ability to take walks outside and get it used to the current situation. I decided that I'm ready for this," she said outside her apartment, after the dog was delivered.

139808In this photo taken on Saturday, April 25, 2020, Alexandra Novatova, wearing gloves to protect from coronavirus, pets Barly, her new two year old mutt dog at her apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Alexandra Novatova opted to use a delivery service a big decision because she was ordering more than a pizza or a shipment of toilet paper. She got a dog brought to her door. With humans spending all day at home, it's an opportune period to find the time to acclimate a new dog and an online project is capitalizing on this to match shelter dogs with people.AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko 

Pensioner Margarita Donchenko knows how much attention a dog needs. And she's glad when volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva shows up once a day to give her fluffy little black-and-white pooch a walk. 

"I saw right away that the dog is crazy about her. As soon as she wakes up, she runs to the door and waits for the doorbell to ring. She waits by her leash for Nadya to come," she said. 

139814In this photo taken on Monday, April 27, 2020, Russian pensioner Margarita Donchenko's dog Sopha looks at volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva while meeting with a neighbor dog during a walk in a courtyard outside of the apartment building in Moscow, Russia. Donchenko knows how much attention a dog needs and she is glad that when she can't give her fluffy little black-and-white pooch what she needs, there's volunteer Nadezhda Minyaeva to show up once a day for a walk.Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko 

"I tell her that Nadya will come soon and she replies with a woof-woof'.'"
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Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this story.
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While nonstop news about the effects of the coronavirus has become commonplace, so, too, are the stories about the kindness of strangers and individuals who have sacrificed for others. "One Good Thing" is an Associated Press series reflecting these acts of kindness.

Page created on 5/4/2020 8:08:57 PM

Last edited 5/4/2020 9:06:17 PM

 

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