“Life is given for good deeds”. This Russian proverb calls us to do good in spite of everything, without schedules and lists of good deeds. This is exactly what the guys from the Tannenberg club from the city of Kondopoga, Russia, do. Young HMB Soft athletes find time to visit animal shelters and help employees.
Many of these children are multiple HMB Soft World Champions in their age groups, but no one brags about medals. Instead, the young people take food and medicine for the animals and go to the shelters. Kondopoga athletes started this tradition exactly 2 years ago. Then, in 2018, the leaders of the Tannenberg club and 3 of their students went to a shelter in the city of Petrozavodsk. Despite the small number of volunteers, the help turned out to be significant. However, it was not possible to make such trips a tradition at that time due to frequent trips to competitions.
In 2019, 6 girls aged 10 to 15 years old, together with their coaches, visited the Right to Life animal shelter in Kondopoga.
The employees of the shelter warmly welcomed guests and introduced their inhabitants to young volunteers.
Lada Stetsenko, 2-time world champion in HMB Soft in the category of 12-13 years old, shared her impressions of volunteering at the shelter: “We went to the Kondopoga animal shelter under the guidance of a trainer. Here we had an opportunity to spend some time with the cutest dogs … we walked with them, had fun and had a good time for about three hours, or even more. At the moment there are 12 dogs in the shelter and all of them want to have a home!”
The guys came to the dogs with treats.
“This time we did not help many, but we brought food, medicines for dogs and helped to walk them. But this is already a big help. The dogs were especially happy about such a walk – there was a lot of time outdoors and there were children nearby to play with. It looks like the dogs were even happier than the girls themselves”, said Alexandra Soloshchenko, the club’s coach.
Dogs could choose the girl volunteer to go for a walk. The young volunteers were happy to spend time with the dogs and walking with them. Holding her four-legged companion on a leash, each girl felt like a real cynologist.
All 6 athletes were excited and expressed the desire to come back to the shelter again, and the rest of the guys from the club were also eager to help animals.
Maria Shilova, 15-year-old HMB Soft World Champion 2018 in the 14-15 category was among the volunteers.
“I really liked this idea and wanted to help people and dogs. The day with the dogs was gorgeous, after leaving the shelter I had only positive emotions. I would love to return here again”.
Katya Kozhedubova from the Tannenberg club also volunteered to help the shelter: “I felt sorry for the animals from the shelter and we agreed to go along and help as much as we could. I am glad that I can help them and play with them. I don’t mind going back and helping”.
A new shelter for dogs with large, spacious enclosures is now being built in Kondopoga, and help with construction is constantly needed there. Most likely, the boys from the club, whom Alexei Petrik, their coach taught to deftly handle a hammer and nails, will not refuse to help with construction. After all, helping animals is so nice!
According to Alexandra Soloshchenko, a number of other events were organized by the club to help the animal shelters. So, in 2019 at The Sport Sword Championship of Karelia tournament, a stand with photos of the wards of the shelter was organized. A demonstration performance, where volunteers of the shelter, together with their wards, showed what teams they had learned during their stay at the shelter was also held. After the real dog show, the participants and spectators of the tournament had the opportunity to communicate with the dogs.
Unfortunately, 2020 made adjustments to the plans of HMB Soft athletes and the spread of Covid-19 prevented young volunteers from helping animals personally. But, according to Alexandra Soloshchenko, at the first opportunity they will return to volunteering.
HMBIA News team hopes that the tradition of helping animal shelters will firmly take root in Tannenberg and other clubs and organizations around the world. After all, strong people should help and protect those who are weaker. And how pleasant it is that a generation of not only talented athletes is growing up, but also wonderful, responsive people.