מתלוצץ עם הרופאים. הכלב מאיר
Meir the dog
Elizabeth Kuzmin with Meir the dog

Israeli field hospital's dog finds a new home in Ukraine

Meir the dog became medical staff's best friend, accompanying them around the hospital, and even helping with the treatment of the Ukrainian children wounded in the war with Russia

Lior El-Hai |
Published: 04.26.22, 12:03
Israel’s field hospital operation in Ukraine amid the war with Russia is coming to an end this Thursday, but not before one of its furriest star employees is resettled in its new home.
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  • Meir the dog greeted the staff of the field hospital in Mostyska on April 13, when they first arrived at the location.
    3 View gallery
    הכלב מאיר עם אליזבת
    הכלב מאיר עם אליזבת
    Elizabeth Kuzmin with Meir the dog
    The security guard working at the hospital found the dog after he had been run over by a car in front of the building and brought him inside, where he has been living since.
    "Our orthopedic doctors and surgeons took care of him, and fixed his broken back leg," said Elizabeth Kuzmin a nurse from Clalit healthcare fund who is part of the humanitarian delegation.
    "At first, he didn't move much. When we arrived, he was already running all over the hospital, but he was still struggling to step on his foot. Now he is able to step on it, and he is almost fully recovered," Kuzmin described.
    The hospital staff decided to call the dog "Meir" after the name of the hospital itself - Kochav Meir.
    3 View gallery
    מתלוצץ עם הרופאים. הכלב מאיר
    מתלוצץ עם הרופאים. הכלב מאיר
    Meir the dog
    Meir accompanies all the medical staff members inside the field hospital compound and even follows them when they walk to the nearest local hospital for surgeries. "He is always next to us, he likes to play with everyone and he is very friendly. He brings joy and love, plays with the kids, and allows them to pet him, but if any of the locals approach the entrance, he barks," Kuzmin said.
    Kuzmin also says they witnessed on several occasions the locals trying to abuse Meir, but the security guards at the compound protect the dog and keep the perpetrators away.
    Meir also contributes to the treatment of the wounded children. "When they arrive at the hospital, he immediately starts playing with the children, calms them down, and even helps them to open up during psychological and psychiatric treatments," she added.
    "There was a girl who got wounded by an explosion with multiple fractures in both legs, and when she arrived at the hospital she was in a depressive state and didn't want to get out of bed. The only one who managed to cheer her up was Meir the dog. Thanks to him she agreed to go outside in her wheelchair, he licked her and showed her a lot of love, and it helped us."
    Recently it had been announced the hospital will be closed later this week and the medical teams will return to Israel, which raised the problem about what to do with Meir.
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    מצא בית חם באוקראינה
    מצא בית חם באוקראינה
    Meir the dog
    "We were uneasy, we wanted to take him with us to Israel because leaving him behind was not an option for us. This is a war-torn country, we can't know what will happen next, and people can barely save themselves, so surely they don't think about the animals at the moment. We saw a lot of abandoned animals and it is very sad," Kuzmin said.
    On Monday, they finally found a solution, and through a mutual friend Kuzmin reached out to a local family who agreed to adopt Meir.
    "I trust this family, I'm sure they will treat him well and won't abandon him. Now, all we have to do is arrange transportation for him, documents, and vaccines. It will cost us some $200-300, but the staff is happily willing to comply. We also received a lot of messages on Facebook from people who wished to donate."
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