A Ukrainian woman fled the country while carrying her elderly dog on her shoulders for 10 miles – and people are commending her for her compassion and strength.
In a first-person account from The Guardian, Alisa, the woman in question, detailed her harrowing journey.
On February 23, she unexpectedly lost her father, and then the following day, Russia’s war against the country broke out.
Alisa said many people were leaving Kyiv, but she and her husband were working out the funeral documents “all over the city” to bury her father.
“We collected almost all the documents, ordered a restaurant for a commemoration, but since the registry office was evacuated, and didn’t give us one final document, the crematorium refused to accept anyone,” she said.
Alisa is also a Python programmer and works for a German company that helped her leave the country for Poland with her family and two large dogs, including the elderly German shepherd.
However, her husband couldn’t cross the border because of his age and “the mobilisation order.”
Driving in a Peugeot 307 she said it was hard to move in the vehicle.
“We drove for 16 hours to a village about 140km from Kyiv…We decided to leave the village later in the morning because it was dangerous, even there,” Alisa said.
She continued to say that there were a lot of cars close to Poland’s border, and she and her family couldn’t stay in the car for the “next three – or five – days”, which prompted them to walk the 10 miles at 4am in minus seven-degree weather.
The elderly German shepherd, who is 12 and half years old, struggled to walk and fell every kilometre and couldn’t stand up again. Alisa asked people for help, but they declined and told her to leave the dogs behind.
This Ukrainian woman carried her old dog for 17km to cross the border with her. 🇺🇦 pic.twitter.com/wCthUAjqyw
— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) March 10, 2022
“But our dogs are part of our family. My dog has experienced all the happy and sad moments with us.”
Towards the end of her piece, she explains how hard it was for her to leave the country.
“At first, I lost my dad, and now I leave my husband there. My husband is a big part of me; he is my best friend, assistant, adviser. Our boundless love is what gives me strength now.”
Check out people’s reactions below in response to her resilience:
I'm sobbing. Even more amazing to me, is that in all the photos and videos I've seen, the dogs seem to understand and will let themselves be carried. I don't think I could lift my 85 lb girl, but I couldn't leave her behind.
— Tracey with an e (@TraceyZeee) March 10, 2022
I’ve seen many photos of families leaving with their pets ( cats & dogs).
Testament to the love and kind heartedness of the Ukrainians 💙🇺🇦💛 pic.twitter.com/ggIlcrCZ3v
— Michelle Theresa 🌻 (@shelle_de) March 10, 2022
I've seen some incredibly moving images from this war these past 2 weeks but the images of people who demonstrate that their pets ARE family in good times and war times sear my heart. It speaks volumes to me about who they are and I pray for them with my whole heart.
— Sadie’s Daughter💛🐝 (@callmyownshots) March 10, 2022
God bless these people. https://t.co/UejMbMQtFb
— Jumbo Elliott (@JumboElliott76) March 10, 2022
Animal welfare charity Underdog International thanked, the British public after raising £35,000 to support Ukrainian refugees’ pets that arrived in Romania. The charity launched a fundraiser on February 26, two days after the Russian invasion.
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015.
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