A recent study by The Washington Post placed Ukraine among the ten countries with the highest number of homeless animals in the world. That’s one of the reasons why the DOG_MA project is breaking the stereotype of ‘animal beauty’ and encouraging people to forget about the breed. We asked the project’s director Tasya Pleshivtseva why #забийнапороду (ignore the breed) is an urgent message for Ukraine
How did you come up with the idea?
Travelling contributed a lot, not only to the idea but to my life. Elsewhere in Europe, people’s attitude to dog breeds is not so extreme as it is here in Ukraine. I got my inspiration in Warsaw a few years ago: I met a very stylish young couple with a non-pedigree dog, and all three looked very organic and trendy. The idea finally hit me when I saw a woman in a Dolce & Gabbana suit walking with her ‘no breed’ dog though the charming streets of Florence.
What is the key message of the DOG_MA project?Our message is to ignore the breed (#забийнапороду). It can be hard to resist fashion in a world where trends define reality. Each time a TV show about pets hits the ratings, a particular breed of dog takes centre stage in popular culture. Game of Thrones is the most recent example of the Dalmatian Effect: the cult series led to a steady rise in the search for Siberian huskies. Our goal is somehow paradoxical: we encourage people to follow an ‘anti-trend’ and make ‘no-breed’ dogs popular among Ukrainians. Our short video demonstrates how an ‘ugly’ breed acquires its beauty and style in the street, accompanied by people who are free of prejudice.
Who helped you implement the idea?
This project would not have happened without talented director and cameraman Angel Angelov, as well as my friend Andrei Nedashkivsky, editor of rap.ua and The Flow. I’m also grateful to all the cool artists and film crew members who volunteered to support us and spread the word. Our team is also grateful for the financial support of the company MacPaw.
“Now more than ever, Ukrainians care about the environment, stand for gender equality, embrace freedom of speech, and defend animal rights”
What are the consequences of choosing ‘trendy’?
By its very nature, a trend is short-lived. The point is that people often follow the impulse without feeling responsibility for the animal. Unfortunately, soon after a certain breed becomes popular, many pets appear in shelters. Cute puppies grow into big dogs that require owners with ample time, experience, and resources. Designer breeding is also a big problem: many purebred or hybrid pets possess a designer mix of characteristics that can’t be guaranteed throughout the puppies’ development. The practice causes health issues in animals and raises critical ethical concerns.
What can each of us do to break the stereotype of the ‘fashionable breed’ in Ukraine?
First, we can analyse the problem from a different angle. I can see how trends in Ukraine have changed over the last five years.
I think the rise of the UAnimals movement is a landmark moment for our country. Today, shelters all over Ukraine are overflowing with animals. What’s the point of buying? An adopted pet will become no less of a loyal friend. Adoption saves lives.
Your new furry friend is waiting for you at one of the following addresses:
Fedorivka (Kyiv oblast)
⎯ 9.00 – 18.00
+380 67 656 7098
Shota Rustaveli 44 (main office)
⎯ 9.00 – 17.00
+380 44 290 0329
Hostomel Animal Shelter
Svyato-Pokrovska 213 (Hostomel, Kyiv region)
⎯ 8.00 – 18.00
Pyrohivskyi Shlyakh 186
+380 63 630 6066
+380 67 656 8433
U Dobri Ruky
+380 98 177 8434
Dog house №1