Thirty-one-year-old Russian translator Karmanova Evgeniia is an animal rescuer and activist currently based in Moscow. The furmom of three happy pups (Mimi, Nana, and Ursa), Evi previously spent five years in South Korea, where she began rescuing dogs and a few cats. She shares, “I was always interested in animals and wildlife, but my parents didn’t allow me to have a dog when I was a kid. So I am fully enjoying doing it now.”
Adopting out over 70 animals to date, Evi makes it her mission to take in, rehabilitate, and find homes for the sick, difficult, and unwanted. She says, “It is easy to adopt a healthy animal, but it’s more fulfilling to see them becoming healthy and happy.”
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Waldo’s Friends (WF): How did you come to adopt your pets Mimi, Nana, and Ursa?
Karmanova Evgeniia (KE): My landlord allowed me to have a pet back when I was living in Korea. I started searching on Facebook, and saw a beautiful maltese that was about to be put down. I decided to adopt him immediately, but when I opened the rescue’s page, I saw Mimi. Nobody claimed him for a long time, and he was scheduled to be put to sleep too. I ended up adopting Mimi because he looked so scared. He was my first adopted dog. (The good news is that the maltese I originally wanted got adopted too!)
Soon, I started volunteering in a city pound nearby. On my first day, I brought home a very cute maltese puppy with a broken hip, so Mimi wouldn’t be lonely while I was at work. And that’s how I started fostering. The following week, I brought home two more puppies, then more sick dogs…
As for Nana, I was making posters for the city pound rescue page about three years ago when I came across a black grumpy dog with short legs. The pound worker said that she had been staying there forever. I said that if she didn’t get adopted the next week, I’d take her. I adopted her so Mimi would have a friend and I could stop fostering other dogs, but apparently, it didn’t help.
With Ursa, I got lucky because there were other people who wanted to adopt her, but nobody had experience with “difficult” dogs like me.
WF: Were there any difficulties that came with adopting them?
KE: Mimi was actually my worst dog ever. He literally destroyed everything in my house. He was so afraid to be left alone, that’s why I brought him a puppy to keep him company. I always say they’re not my foster dogs but Mimi’s because he teaches them things like how to use pee pads or go outside.
Ursa is a blind-born boerboel who came from backyard breeders. I’ve always wanted to have a big dog, so after I moved from Korea, I started searching for one. I wanted a healthy and happy dog, but instead, I got a very happy dog. She loves everybody—animals, people, snacks… everything! She still has problems with going outside because new places scare her, but she already knows lots of commands and enjoys training.
The two other dogs also have health issues. Mimi has a herniated disk, so sometimes he needs acupuncture. Nana had severe heartworm, so her heart is not perfect. But despite all these, they are all very happy. The funny thing is that they are not big fans of each other at home. They all sleep separately, and only Ursa tries to be friends with everybody. But when Nana and Mimi are outside, they are a team.
WF: What are the things your rescue pets enjoy doing with you?
KE: Their favourite thing is to cuddle. I always have big beds so everybody can come and cuddle together. Even Ursa sleeps on my bed. It’s very important for blind dogs to feel connection and warmth of others.
WF: Any funny or interesting anecdotes you can share about your adopted pets?
KE: The latest “funny” story I have is that Ursa destroyed all my shoes except for the ones I wore to work. So now I just have one pair for all occasions.
WF: What’s the best pet parenting tip you can give for people adopting animals for the first time? How about to pet owners planning to take in another pet?
KE: Never think about a rescue dog as a poor little thing because in this case, it can get fat fast. Many people try to give their rescues lots of delicious things. Stop yourself from doing it a lot, especially at the beginning, because you’re going to spoil your precious pet. Also, think about their past experiences. See how they react to cars, TV, etc. Try to understand what their life was like before they came to you and try to help them adapt to new things.
When you are taking in another pet, never adopt just for yourself. Your first dog is a part of the family and he has the right to choose. Check what kinds of dogs your pet likes more in terms of size, age, and disposition, then try to get a match. The best example would be Mimi and Nana. They have similar bodies and ages (both small and around 7 to 8 years old), so they have similar speeds and interests. It’s very easy to walk them both.
WF: You post a lot of success stories and updates about the past animals you’ve rescued on your Instagram account. Can you tell us more about your animal rescue efforts in Korea and Russia?
KE: I used to volunteer at Yongin Pound Adoption and some private shelters in Korea. I would just usually pull an unwanted dog from a kill shelter, vaccinate, spay/neuter, make the dog pretty and happy again, and then find him a home. We sent about 15 or more dogs to Russia, and we continue to do it from time to time.
It’s not like there are no dogs in Russia that need help. It’s just there are so many young small dogs in shelters (like maltese, chihuahuas, and shih tzus), but it’s hard to adopt those in Russia. Some people don’t want to buy a dog or sponsor breeders, so they are willing to wait till their adopted dog flies out from Korea. These days, I’m trying to find homes for some Russian dogs as I am living here now and it’s easier to organise the process.
WF: What is the process like for adopters living in another country?
KE: Adoption to another country takes more time. After finding a good applicant and having a good interview, you need to find a rescue in the place where the adopter lives in case of emergency. You need this because you don’t want the dog to be left on the streets. You also need to find a flight courier (a person who will fly to the country and bring the animal), which may take some time, but it’s usually quite easy in big cities.
As for the adoption process, it is very similar. A person fills in the application form, answers questions, visits you, and then you decide. Sometimes, it’s hard to say no to a person when you have a better candidate, because frankly, you don’t know who is really the best. You’re just using your sixth sense. From my previous experiences, I’ve only been mistaken once. The dog was rehomed and now lives happily ever after.
WF: Why would you personally encourage people to adopt animals?
KE: Because endless backyard breeding and selling pets in shops must be stopped. Also, a seller never tells you everything about the dog. He just wants your money. But shelter volunteers and fosters will help you find the best dog for you because they care.
WF: What do you love most about rescuing animals?
KE: Getting Christmas cards from owners (where the beautiful rescues sit near the Christmas tree) or basically getting photos from owners. It’s like I can’t have all these dogs to myself, but I am happy to see them living with good families.
Read more rescue stories here! Do you know of an interesting pet adoption, foster, or rescue story? Share your suggestion with us by commenting below!