Sochi Expedition 2017: The Shelter

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

The Shelter

On a slope of a mountain, behind an 8-foot high fence, at the end of a long road, sits the Sochi Dogs Shelter. This place has been a safe haven for almost 300 dogs already.  I had the opportunity to spend time at this amazing place, but before I tell you what I did, I want to give you a sense of how everything works.

The dogs get to the shelter hungry, scared, dirty, infected with parasites and sometimes injured. First, they get a bath. There is a small bathroom with a little tub in the corner.  After that, they stay in a special quarantine area until they are ready and it's safe for them to join the other dogs.

The bathroom is also used as a living space for a few “special” dogs, who do not stay in the kennels and for as many dogs as possible in the winter time when it's cold out. It’s hard to tell what gives someone the privilege to be a special dog, but Vlada and Masha decide!

Most of the dogs stay in kennels, 2 to 5 dogs together.  The kennels are very simple, there are dog houses on a concrete floor. Due to Sochi’s temperate climate, they are not heated. Everyday (weather permitting), dogs go out in groups to have free play and time to run around on the grass field.  

Masha cleans the kennels, a few times a day!  I try to help, believe me, it's not an easy job. I can’t imagine how difficult it is in winter.

Now onto food, the most important part of shelter life according to any dog you ask! There is a “dog kitchen” with two gas stoves, two gas tanks, and a freezer.   Masha makes 6 to 8 high pots of stew every day. It takes about 3 hours to cook.  The stew is made from oats with beef or chicken, sunflower oil and carrots.  The pots are huge! They are very heavy to lift.  Masha lifts them and pours them into buckets to distribute around the shelter.

With so much work, the day at the shelter starts early, around 7 AM.  First, we visit the puppy area where Vlad is the permanent supervisor.  The special dog team wants to go with us,  but we ask them to stay outside.


After we check in on everyone, the cooking starts. Cooking and cleaning take almost two-thirds of the day. In the afternoon it's time for training, brushing, shopping, taking a dog to the vet or very rare short break.

Sometimes potential adopters ask us, what toys the dog would like, or what kind of food does it prefer or what kind of bed would be better for her/him.  Or some people even say, “they look so happy maybe they do not want to leave the shelter.” Believe me, they will like and appreciate any food you give them, they will be very happy sleeping on dog bed (or your bed would be even better) and they will love just hanging out with you. They are wonderfully smart and they want to have a family to love more than anything else.
Please consider adopting a rescue dog from our shelter or any other shelter.