‘They’re like children, and you just can’t leave them behind’

Woman with little dog under her coat, animal news
A woman carries her dog after fleeing from Ukraine to Romania, February 27, 2022, photo: Reuters/Stoyan Nenov

“At home, they live on the pillow, they are small, and their body and health are not really fit for this trip,” Anna Zatsepa said about her Yorkshire terriers Lea and Keks, who fled with her from war-torn Ukraine to Poland.

Pet owners took dogs, cats, turtles, and parrots fleeing Ukraine. “They’re like children, and you just can’t leave them behind,” Zatsepa told news agency AFP. “They were scared crazy for sure, because they don’t understand what’s happening and why it is happening to us.”

Tatiana Tymchuk, who lives near Kyiv, arrived at the Polish border with her mother, brother, a turtle named Cherep and a Snowshoe tomcat called Simon.

“We couldn’t leave them behind, so we took them with us. We also have dogs, but they stayed at home with grandpa,” Tymchuk said.

Liana Getman fled from Kyiv with her two daughters and a grey cat named Mara. “She was really scared, and I guess now she understands all the disasters happening, and she supports us as she can,” Getman said.

“She was crying while we were evacuated from Kyiv. She was crying half of our trip, but then she understood that she’s OK, she’s with us, and now she’s calm,” Getman added.

At an animal shelter on the outskirts of the Polish city of Przemysl, Joanna Puchalska-Tracz welcomed 38 dogs and 32 cats from Ukraine on Wednesday.

The animals were taken in several cars from Kyiv by the German organisation White Paw.

“They are tired and scared, and they don’t want to eat yet. They must rest and look around and maybe get better here,” Puchalska-Tracz said about the dogs and cats.

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