Ukrainian refugees reunited with their pet dog

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Ukrainians and their pets displaced by Russia’s invasion have been reunited a year after the conflict began. Those fleeing the country to safety in the UK left their beloved animal companions in quarantine once they arrived. Animal charity the Blue Cross has shared heartwarming pictures and footage of refugees as they were reunited with their pets.

The Blue Cross said that all pets arriving in the UK first spend time quarantined, with several animals in their care having made perilous trips to safety.

One Ukrainian refugee, Viktoriia Lahodynska, had just adopted her dog, two-month-old Betty, when the war forced her to flee her country.

Betty’s previous owners left her behind at the outbreak of war, and Ms Lahodynska and her two children, Elizabeth, eight, and Bohnan 10, welcomed the pooch into their family.

The dog also got along well with the children at the school where she worked and helped ease anxiety as they bid farewell to their conscripted fathers.


But Ms Lahodynska was ultimately forced to leave her home as the conflict intensified.

A kind sponsor stepped in, allowing her to resettle in the UK, and Betty was briefly quarantined away from the family.

Blue Cross staffers delivered updates during Betty’s stay with photos and videos.

Ms Lahodynska said she was happy to find her dog kept in such pleasant circumstances after fearing Betty would be “sitting in a cage”.

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She said: “When I saw the picture, she was in a lovely room and they’ve got her lovely toys.

“In the video she was happy, jumping and playing. I don’t feel sad that my dog was here.”

She added: “They didn’t just walk her. They spent a lot of time with my dog and gave a lot of love.”

Blue Cross captured the moment Betty and her owners were reunited, with the golden retriever excitedly licking and wiggling as she greeted Ms Lahodynska.

Married couple Dmytro and Iryna Kubov from Donetsk had a similar experience as they fled war-torn Mariupol with their two cats, Mars and Tor, and dog Bulochka.

Having lost their home and car, the two had only their pets and vital documents and travelled for weeks until they secured visas to travel elsewhere.

Their two cats were quarantined with the Blue Cross while their dog went elsewhere.

The couple said Tor and Mars were “so well cared for” and that they were “constantly sent reports on their condition, mood, photos and videos”.

They added: “We saw that they have a lot of toys, beds and very good care.We are very grateful to Blue Cross for such a good attitude towards our animals.”

When they returned, they said their two cats recognised them, adding they couldn’t “imagine our life without them”. The Blue Cross has launched an appeal to fund and support pets left in Ukraine and owners fleeing the conflict.

The Blue Cross Ukraine Pet Welfare Fund has raised more than £350,000, with 100 percent used to support four charities partners in Ukraine and over the border.

Those funds have bought more than 500 tonnes of pet food, more than 450 dog homes, and thousands of dog jackets and blankets to help cats and dogs survive Ukraine’s brutal winter chill.

Anna Wade, the Blue Cross’ public affairs manager, said the Blue Cross “immediately” stepped in to offer help to Ukraine.

She added that the charity has helped keep “hundreds” of pets left to fend for themselves over the winter. Ms Wade said: “The war is having such a devastating effect across Ukraine and of course, our thoughts are with all those suffering and struggling at this terrible time.

“As a pet charity, we immediately stepped in to help wherever we could. “Both in providing quarantine for those who managed to flee with their pets and for those who have stayed with their pets and rely on support from charities.

“We are also helping the charity partners to care for hundreds of pets without owners fending for themselves in sub-zero temperatures.”

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