Former soldier Tom SN has saved over 3,000 animals with his military skills. He said: “There is no situation I wouldn’t put myself in to save an animal. Animals have given me life, peace and love. Everything I do is for them.”
He undertook his first rescue mission just six days after the outbreak of war in Ukraine on February 24, 2022.
MSN, which previously served in Afghanistan and Iraq, entered the conflict zone from the Romanian border with a friend to rescue 70 dogs at a shelter near the frontline east of Kharkiv.
Speaking about the mission, he said: “A one-vehicle military escort guided us to the shelter.
“We walked through the town which was derelict, like a zombie apocalypse scene with only wild boars roaming the snowy streets.
“When we arrived at the shelter, we were 500 meters from the Russian front line.
“Bombs were falling on either side of us, shells were whistling above our heads and shells were falling 10 or 15 meters from the walls, so we had to move quickly.
“In the end, we evacuated all 70 dogs within an hour.”
His rescue team, known as Breaking the Chains, now has four members, supported by a team of 20 vets and animal shelter staff.
Breaking the Chains once even saved a 600kg bear named Bolik and a wolf named Elza.
The team also helped two wildlife organizations extract nine lions from a zoo in Odessa.
The animals are now in Romania awaiting transfer to a sanctuary in South Africa.
Mr. SN joked, “Yeah, the lions were good.”
He added: “I’ve been responsible for huge weapon systems in my time, but I’ve never felt anything as powerful as having a lion’s head in my hands.
“Of course, just like the military, you don’t think about what might happen, you just make your plans and do the work.
“Plus, there’s no greater feeling than seeing the animals you rescue get a second chance at life.
“That’s why we do what we do.”
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