Inside his Markham, Ont. veterinary clinic, Cliff Redford has just finished surgery on a small dog. He is preparing for what will come next week, when he is leaving for Europe to help rescue animals displaced by war.

“I just kind of realized that I could help out. The veterinarians are in demand, almost as much as the human doctors,” he says.

On Monday, Redford will travel to Poland on the Ukraine border where some makeshift animal shelters have been created to help those forced to flee their homes and cannot care for their pets. He will even make some trips into Ukraine to rescue animals that have been left behind.

“The suffering that we see and the anguish again and the love that these people have for their pets and their animals. It inspires me and empowers me to do what I can,” he says.

When he arrives, Redford is helping with an animal rescue in Poland called DIOZ. A rescue organization that has been dealing with an influx of animals since Russia invaded 3 weeks ago.

Redford is no stranger to working abroad, volunteering to care for animals in places like India and Egypt. He will also be working with his 21-year-old daughter Emily, who has been by his side for many surgeries.

“She’s done a lot of training with animal rehab and rescue and she’s in Europe right now.”

Redford called his daughter in Spain and asked if she wanted to come along. Emily said “As soon as my dad asked me if I wanted to come I said ‘Yes’ immediately. Although it can be slightly scary to be in and around a war area.”

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Together they will work, and try to stay safe for two weeks.

Emily Redford says, “I really don’t know what to expect, I’m really still in shock to be honest.”

They both understand that the timing could change. They hope that their work helps those who need a reminder that, as he says, “there’s a lot of good people out there and together we can sort fight against those that aren’t that good.”

Redford says that this could be the first of multiple trips, but he hopes that the war will end before he is needed again.


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