When the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exploded in 1986, the surrounding villages were evacuated and fleeing residents were not allowed to take their pets with them. Those sadly abandoned pets faced a new harsh reality. Soldiers were sent in to shoot the animals and those that evaded the weapons were met with wicked Ukrainian winters and radiation in their fur, all leading to shortened lives.

But through the years many have survived, hardy descendants that learned to bum food off visitors and find reliable shelter. Now, some of those Chernobyl pups are heading for homes in the United States.

Chernobyl puppiesThe puppies will spend 45 days in quarantine before making the trip to the U.S. (Photo: Lukasz Zawadkzi/Clean Futures Fund)

Ukrainian state officials have announced that the first dozen puppies from the Chenobyl Exclusion Zone will be put up for adoption in the U.S. in June. The puppies will be quarantined for 45 days before they’re sent overseas to find new homes.

The strays began to receive veterinary care and attention last year through the help of the Clean Futures Fund, a U.S.-based nonprofit that helps communities affected by industrial accidents. After assessing the situation, the group developed a three-year plan.