At the Dr. Doc therapy center located in the southern Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhia, a friendly spaniel by the name of Evsei is comforting and entertaining Ukrainian children who were displaced due to war. His presence has definitely improved the moods of the traumatized children and has helped to distract them from the things happening in their country.
The kids love to shake Evsei’s paws and play with him while in the background volunteers would sing and dance to entertain the children. One of the volunteers, 22-year-old Olga Pivtoratska, shared that this kind of play is important for the children’s psyches, especially since they are very vulnerable. Some of the children are even scared and so Evsie and the volunteers try to bring them out of that state.
Additionally, with the help of Evsie, the children grow slowly accustomed to the quietness of Zaporizhzhia and create a secure and comforting feeling in the new place. Aside from the cuddly therapy sessions, the center also provides other humanitarian aid for the refugees, most of whom came from the eastern regions of Ukraine where war is most abundant.
According to the head of the center and a child psychologist named Alyona Serdyuk, the volunteers look after the children while their parents got registered before moving on to permanent homes. Their main job is to stabilize the children by creating playful interactions with Evsie and to cater to the children’s individual psychological needs.
But aside from kids, there are also adults who need that same reassurance of security just like 20-year-old refugee Daniil Savchenko. Daniil came from Russian-occupied Berdiansk with his mother and pug Milo. The interaction with the volunteers as well as Evsie helped comfort Daniil and Milo and gave them a chance to peacefully restart the next chapter of their lives.