Ukrainians fleeing war ‘can’t leave’ pets behind
Mounds of abandoned clothes and other personal items lie strewn along corridors leading out of Ukraine. The farther people carry their things, the harder it is, so they leave them behind, said Ludmila Sokol, a gym teacher fleeing Zaporizhzhia in the south.
But their pets, they keep alongside them.
Everywhere amid the exodus of more than 2.3 million people fleeing Russia’s invasion are the pets people could not leave behind: birds, rabbits, hamsters, cats and dogs.
Helping Ukrainian refugees & their pets arriving in Romania 🇷🇴🐾🇺🇦
Together with Animal Society, our team in Romania is responding swiftly to the current crisis. We are deeply concerned about the war in Ukraine. Our thoughts are with everyone affected – humans and animals alike. pic.twitter.com/pj0Kq8wxVM
— FOUR PAWS (@fourpawsint) March 9, 2022
People fleeing the outskirts of Kyiv crowded together under a destroyed bridge, carrying little luggage and abandoning their vehicles on the road. But their pets remained with them.
One woman ferried her dog across an improvised bridge over the Irpin River amid the evacuation. Another at a train station in Poland nuzzled her orange cat, nose to nose.
A young girl wrapped in an aluminized blanket hugged her two Chihuahuas close as she made the crossing into Medyka, Poland.
🐾 Not even nom noms can soothe us. Poppet didn’t even come out to meet us today, she’s heartbroken too. But there is one bit of not horrific news: the puppy heard in yesterday’s attack video made it! And hoomans in Ukraine will do whatever they can to save their pets. #Ukraine🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/HgcWFUzW1x
— The Oval Pawffice® 🇺🇸 DOTUS Fans (@TheOvalPawffice) March 8, 2022
A woman who made it to Romania cuddled her small dog as they sat in a hotel ballroom converted into a refugee shelter.
One woman said she felt an obligation to keep not only her family but her pets safe.
Every kill shelter should post this photo on their front door for the people who are surrendering their pets in our throw away society. People in Ukraine are carrying 80 pound dogs through a living hell to save them and not leave them behind! 🐾🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/DEShPpn8VI
— Devin Nunes' Cattle Dog (re-homed) (@Kaos_Vs_Control) March 10, 2022
Victoria Trofimenko, 42, had originally planned never to leave Kyiv, she said in an interview with The Associated Press by Zoom days after the war started.
But as the missiles and explosives rained down she thought about her duty to protect her 18-year-old daughter, 69-year-old mother — and her dog, Akira, and cat, Galileo.
She bought train tickets to head west, ending up in Prague. She said she first arrived in Hungary, though, and was grateful to have Akira by her side for protection.
“I can’t leave dogs or cats. I have to take responsibility,” she said.
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