How A Facebook Group Is Saving Lives Overseas

By Joseph Farago | 4 weeks ago

facebook group

Facebook has been getting less and less traction over the past few years. Still, other than sharing family photos, many believe in Facebook’s function of bringing people together and offering valuable services. Social media platform groups like Facebook Marketplace are essential for getting cheap furniture and decor, but other groups are even more helpful. A Facebook group for Irish setter owners was recently used to help Ukrainians seeking refuge get out of their country.

The movement began when a man posted a picture of him and his dog boarding a train out of Ukraine. The picture showcased the concerned man holding his giant dog and having to maneuver his way onto a packed train. The photo galvanized many dog owners in the Facebook group to start thinking about how they could help Ukrainians in this dire situation.

Published images of Ukrainians leaving on foot with their cats and dogs in hand were seen outside the Facebook group. Even when the threat of Russian bombing was imminent, animal owners still packed up their beloved pets to make the journey out of the occupied territory. Macha Levitin, a Moscow local and Irish setter owner, saw the photo of the grieving man holding his dog on the train and desperately wanted to help people evacuate. “It was just absolutely out of the question for them to leave their cats and dogs,” Macha stated, honoring the Ukrainians fleeing their hometowns.

Since the first reported picture in the Irish setter Facebook group, Macha Levitin has helped numerous Ukrainians find housing in France, where her family currently lives. Though the Facebook group was intended for people to post innocuous pictures of them and their hound, it turned into something even greater and more beneficial for the people leaving Ukraine. Other pet owners have joined in on Levittan’s quest, aiding people in finding stable places to stay outside of their Ukrainian cities and towns.

Levitin has an easy protocol to find Ukrainians in the Irish setter Facebook group. She looked through the thousands of members in the group to see what language they were typing in or if their country of origin was stated on their Facebook page. When she noticed someone was possibly of Russian or Ukrainian origin, she’d send a friendly message offering her services to relocate people from Ukraine to France. Levitin has relocated a few Ukrainians to her own French village by simply sending a short Facebook message.

Yavor Gechev, an official with the Humane Society International’s Europe office, released some figures on dogs and cats entering Poland from Ukraine. By the first week of May, more than 30,000 cats and dogs had been transferred to Ukraine over the border. This figure doesn’t account for the numerous pets rescued by various charities in the eastern European country. As of now, there isn’t a definitive figure on how many animals were rescued from the Russian invasion, but that number is still rising daily. For those overseas, Facebook groups like the one for Irish settler lovers have been beneficial in aiding Ukrainians and their beloved pets.