If you like radioactive fallout, post-Apocalyptic towns, and dogs, Airbnb has the perfect niche travel experience for you. Amid Chernobyl’s growing popularity as a tourist destination, the company is now offering travelers a unique opportunity to visit the infamous disaster site and do some animal-friendly good in the process.
The Chernobyl meltdown forced residents of neighboring Pripyat to abandon their town literally overnight. All 40,000 inhabitants left almost everything behind, including their pets. Most of the remaining dogs and cats suffered massive doses of radiation. Many died in or soon after the blast, and many more were culled by Ukranian soldiers to stop the spread of radiation outside the containment area. Surprisingly, however, many also survived. More than three decades after the disaster, hundreds of wild dogs still roam the streets.
It’s a bleak existence. The dogs face food scarcity, attacks by wolves and other wild animals, brutal Ukranian weather, and the lingering effects of the nuclear meltdown. The good folks at Dogs of Chernobyl work to treat the dogs who are forced to call the Exclusion Zone home. More than 1,500 have been helped in the last three years. Volunteers can now join the program’s staff on a unique day tour to help provide food, water, and basic health care for the 250 pups. According to the Airbnb listing, “They love being fed, cared for, and meeting people from around the world who want to give them some extra attention.” The experience is an exclusive part of “animals on Airbnb Experiences” — an Airbnb initiative to promote responsible animal interactions under the guidance of World Animal Protection.
Dogs of Chernobyl is part of a larger non-profit called Clean Futures Fund. It’s a U.S.-based, 501(c)(3) program that provides human health services to those most affected by the Chernobyl disaster — namely, past and current Chernobyl workers and sick and disabled children in the area.
The Dogs of Chernobyl experience is bookable exclusively through Airbnb. The 11-hour tour includes ground transportation, entrance into the Exclusion Zone, lunch at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and a full day’s work alongside vets and volunteers from the Clean Futures Fund. Every dollar of the roughly $400 ticket price goes directly to the fund.
If you’re looking to do some canine-centric good right here at home, the TSA is seeking good homes for its unwanted bomb-sniffing dogs.
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