Sochi Expedition 2017:  The Road to the Shelter

Tanya Umansky, one of Sochi Dogs’ cofounders traveled to the shelter this spring. Over the next few weeks she’ll be sharing her experience on the blog.

From New York to Vienna, Vienna to Moscow and Moscow to Sochi

and I finally make it to Sochi! I couldn’t be happier! Visiting the shelter had been my dream for the last 3 years.  Vlada meets me at the airport and the first thing she says to me is, “Quick lets go, I just saw a dog on the opposite side of the highway.” We drive very slowly looking for the dog but unfortunately it ran away.  Our next stop, the old part of Sochi, a small resort town on the Black Sea. It’s lively with tons of palm trees and shops lining the streets  We have a quick lunch at a local café, load the car with the groceries and of course stop by a pet store. Vlada says she can’t go to the shelter without bringing treats! There are no Petcos or PetsMarts or anything even comparable in Sochi.  The pet store is tiny. We are able to find some treats but they were oh so expensive. Finally we are ready for our destination — the shelter

From Sochi to Adler there is a modern highway. Then we turn off towards the shelter and then the road goes through villages, fields, along a small cemetery, passing some abandoned buildings, and finally through a patch of woods to reach the shelter gates.

The last few miles of the road we’ve been calling the “abandoned dog road” because we’ve found so many dogs here. Since very few people know to spay their dogs, many drop-off unwanted puppies in these woods because its far from town so they won’t be able to make back.

This is where we found Nellie, Hanna and her puppies Tula (Chenna), Ginger (Marina), Daisy (Deshka), and Nuka, just last week Simcha was dropped of here in a box, among many others.

The road ends at the shelter gates. As you can see from the photos, you need to be a very experience driver and have 4-wheel drive if you want to drive through.  If there is ice or snow even a 4-wheel drive vehicle won’t get you there.

The Shelter

Vlada goes in to open the gate. The shelter is set on the slope of a mountain and its surrounded by an 8-foot fence.

I haven’t seen the shelter but I know and love this place!  The gate is opened and I walk inside.  Masha  meets up with Sierra, Trixie, Marsha, Katya and Josie. First Vlada, goes to hug her favorite dog, Katya and then everyone else gets treats.  

The dogs in the kennels want to greet us too and they are barking as loud as they can to tell us. After saying hello, we go inside the cottage where Masha lives and where I’ll be staying. I give Vlada and Masha the posters with notes and photos from our adopters. We reminisce about the dogs already in homes and how each of them were rescued. We can’t chat for long, there is lots of work to be done!