Daria Pushkareva was a successful photographer living in Russia’s capital city of Moscow when she decided to leave the bustling city life behind. She now lives in the woods with over 100 rescued dogs, many of them disabled and special-needs. According to an interview with Bored Panda, Daria always knew in her heart that she wanted to help animals.
While living in Moscow, Daria had a robust career as an elite wedding photographer, but always felt a desire to leave everything behind in search of something more. As a child growing up in Russia she had always dreamed of rescuing dogs and opening a dog shelter.
Daria’s first rescue was a one-eyed, flea-covered puppy from the local animal control. She soon started taking in more rescued animals, especially those that were disabled or had special needs such as wheelchairs. One day Daira decided to follow through on her dream, so she and her husband bought a country house in a forest a hundred miles from Moscow.
Today, Daria and her husband care for over 100 animals. Along with rescuing dogs, Daria also saves animals from the fur farming industry; these include raccoons, raccoon dogs, foxes, and arctic foxes. While taking care of over 100 animals can be exhausting, Daria now feels more fulfilled in her everyday life.
Daria and her husband now devote their entire lives to taking care of their rescues. They have built nighttime enclosures for all of the animals, and during the day everyone gets to run around all they want. Daria and her husband spend their days mostly making sure that all the dogs have been fed and everyone has taken their medications, and that all of the living spaces are clean and tidy.
Living in the forest already has its challenges, and taking care of so many animals can make things even more complicated. But Daria and her husband are both committed to their rescue dogs and know that the animals rely on them for all of their needs. The dogs’ wellbeing is the number-one priority, while Daria and her husband make sure that they do not take on any more than they can handle.
They also rely a lot on friends and volunteers to help them out along the way. Living mostly off-the-grid, they have installed solar panels for electricity and have a generator. With the help of friends, they also now have running water and indoor plumbing. Winters in Russia can be rough, but summers are a lot easier. Daria and her husband support themselves with the money they made when they both had full time jobs. And they rely on public donations to help provide for the animals.
People from all over contact Daria and ask if she will take in rescued and unwanted dogs; many of these animals are disabled and have special needs, so nobody else wants them. When the dogs first arrive at the rescue shelter, a lot of them also have behavioral issues. Most of the animals the couple takes in would have been euthanized otherwise.
Daria and her husband both believe that even dogs with disabilities deserve to be saved, and can live long and happy lives.