Only The Best Will do for Moscow’s Street Dogs

The following post about work being done in support of the International Fund for Animal Welfare grantee Tess in Moscow comes courtesy of Dr. Kati Loeffler, IFAW’s veterinary advisor based in China, and Mila Danilova, consultant for IFAW-Russia.

Moscow is a city known for its tumultuous history, beautiful architecture and talented artists. It is less known for its dedicated citizens who look after some 30,000 dogs that make their home in the streets and parks of the city.

The quality of care that the dogs receive from the community is evident in the ease with which they find their way along busy sidewalks, rest in parks among strolling couples and playing children, and even navigate Moscow’s famous subway stations.

Good care of dogs also means high reproductive rates. Cute as puppies are, re-homing street dogs is difficult and Moscow cannot afford more of them. The many municipal and private dog shelters in Moscow are overflowing with dogs who are gathered from the street in an effort to manage the free-roaming population. Community dog guardians are recognizing the need for canine population control, and they need low-cost, high-quality spay/neuter clinics to serve their dogs.

This is the unique service of Tess. With support from IFAW since 1998, Tess is now one of the only shelters in Moscow that serves street dogs and cats and the guardians who care for them. Tess is a small, non-governmental charity shelter that focuses on the provision of safe, surgical sterilization for dogs and cats, and the subsequent return of animals as soon as possible to their community guardians or to happy homes.

Tess is fortunate with its two young, energetic staff: Irina, Clinic Manager, and Turdu Ali, Kennel Manager. Alexander Gogolev (affectionately called Sasha) works tirelessly in addition to a full-time job as director and manager of Tess.

Tess strives to provide Moscow’s dogs and cats with international standards of veterinary care and animal husbandry. An IFAW grant has enabled the renovation and expansion of Tess’s dog kennels that began last autumn and will finish this spring. In late January of this year, Dr. Kati Loeffler, IFAW’s veterinary advisor, based in China, and Mila Danilova, consultant for IFAW-Russia, teamed up to join Tess for a month in the famous Moscow winter. The team of five worked tirelessly to develop and implement strategies for advancements in clinical protocols, surgical standards, post-surgical care of dogs, and kennel management.

-- HL

For more information about the International Fund for Animal Welfare efforts to help animals in crisis around the world, visit

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