Chernobyl Puppies are Making Their Way to the U.S. and Canada to Find Their Forever Homes

A veterinarian working for The Dogs of Chernobyl initiative bathes a stray puppy in Chernobyl.
A veterinarian working for The Dogs of Chernobyl initiative bathes a stray puppy in Chernobyl.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

For the first time ever, a group of puppies that were born in Chernobyl, Ukraine, have been removed from the exclusion zone surrounding the Chernobyl nuclear power plant whose reactor exploded in 1986, causing one of the worst nuclear disasters the world has ever seen. As BuzzFeed reports, some of the descendants of dogs that survived the environmental catastrophe have been cleared of radiation and brought to the U.S. and Canada to start new lives.

Until 2018, it was illegal for animals to be removed from the Chernobyl exclusion zone, and it’s still illegal for people to live in Chernobyl City for more than three weeks at a time. When local authorities decided to make an exception for puppies last year, an organization called the Clean Futures Fund launched an adoption program to find new homes for healthy pups.

“You can’t bring anything out of the exclusion zone," Christine Anderson, who adopted one of the rescued dogs, told CBS Sacramento last December. "These puppies are the first things to ever make it out.” Her 8-month-old Chernobyl pup, named Persik, seems happy and healthy, aside from a few quirky habits that likely stem from trying to survive in a harsh environment.

“She really likes to hide underneath things ... and she builds nests,” Anderson says. “She’ll take shoes, take clothes, anything she could find and make a little barrier around herself. I think it makes her feel safe.”

Although some have warned of the dangers of petting the dogs in Chernobyl, Clean Futures Fund co-founder Lucas Hixson says it’s extremely rare to find traces of radiation among the animals. Nonetheless, all of the dogs are tested for radiation, and blood samples are taken as well. In an attempt to reduce the stray dog population, older dogs are spayed and neutered, while puppies are treated and taken to the nearby town of Slavutych to receive training.

More than 40 puppies are eligible for adoption, and over a dozen have already been brought to the U.S. Fourteen puppies were sent to New York. Persik wound up in Northern California. And a pair of siblings found forever homes in Ohio, where a video posted to Instagram shows the two pups being reunited.

In addition to the puppy adoption program, the Clean Futures Fund also continues to raise funds to help spay, neuter, and vaccinate the hundreds of stray dogs in Chernobyl, and you can learn more about their efforts in the video below.

[h/t BuzzFeed]

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

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A Wily Fox With a Passion for Fashion Stole More Than 100 Shoes From a Berlin Neighborhood

The smirk.
The smirk.
Brett Jordan, Unsplash

In Berlin, Germany, a fox has embarked on a crime spree that puts Dora the Explorer’s Swiper completely to shame.

CNN-News18 reports that residents of Zehlendorf, a locality in southeastern Berlin, spent weeks scratching their heads as shoes continued to disappear from their stoops and patios overnight. After posting about the mystery on a neighborhood watch site and reading accounts from various bewildered barefooters, a local named Christian Meyer began to think the thief might be a fox.

He was right. Meyer caught sight of the roguish robber with a mouthful of flip-flop and followed him to a field, where he found more than 100 stolen shoes. The fox appears to have an affinity for Crocs, but the cache also contained sandals, sneakers, a pair of rubber boots, and one black ballet flat, among other footwear. Unfortunately, according to BBC News, Meyer’s own vanished running shoe was nowhere to be seen.

Foxes are known for their playfulness, and it’s not uncommon for one to trot off with an item left unattended in a yard. Birmingham & Black Country Wildlife explains that foxes are drawn to “things that smell good,” which, to a fox, includes dog toys, balls, gardening gloves, and worn shoes. And if your former cat’s backyard gravesite is suddenly empty one day, you can probably blame a fox for that, too; they bury their own food to eat later, so a deceased pet is basically a free meal.

The fate of Zehlendorf’s furriest burglar remains unclear, but The Cut’s Amanda Arnold has a radical idea: that the residents simply let the fox keep what is obviously a well-curated collection.

[h/t CNN-News18]