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San Diego dog trainer desperate to return home after evacuating 35 dogs from Ukraine

"These dogs do amazing things for their handlers," said Chris Jimenez. "It seems right to return the favor."

SAN DIEGO — A local K-9 trainer is desperate to get back to San Diego. He's stuck in Poland after evacuating his dogs from Ukraine.

"I was sitting at my house in San Diego. My friend sent me a message 'We're being bombed,'" said Chris Jimenez, the owner of K-9 Connect, a dog training company based in San Diego.

Jimenez said he immediately made plans to fly to Ukraine to rescue all 35 of his German Shepards. He said they're based in Kiev and are trained to work with the military and law enforcement. 

"For the first two days, to be honest with you, a lot of these dogs weren't even eating. They didn't want to come out and play, they didn't want to do anything. For a German Shepard not to want to chase a tennis ball, that's pretty serious," he said.

The 27-year-old army veteran said he spent days getting his dogs to safety. He eventually was able to bring them to an abandoned animal shelter in Poland. That's where Jimenez spoke to CBS 8 Friday.

He's been documenting his journey on social media.


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♬ original sound - k9connect

"Every single step of the way, there was somebody telling me I'm not of sound mind," he said. "But at the end of the day, I ask these dogs to do amazing things for their K-9 handlers. They run through gunfire, they take on assailants, it seems right to return the favor."

Jimenez has been relying on help from strangers. He said many people have dropped off donations for the dogs. 

He found a flight for the dogs back to the US, but said it could cost as much as $40,000.

He set up a GoFundMe account and is hoping to raise enough money to get them back to San Diego.


Slowly losing my mind 🙃 #wardogs #k9 #help #workingdogs

♬ original sound - k9connect

WATCH RELATED: SDHS President helping Ukrainian refugees fleeing with their pets (March 2022).

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