Refugees from Ukraine show loyalty to their dogs, cats and other pets

Images of crowded train stations and bustling bus depots show puppies wrapped up alongside toiletries, hamsters bundled in crates and cats strapped into carriers.

People have done everything in their power to save their four-legged friends (Images: AP/Facebook/SJAAlumniDehradun)

For those fleeing Ukraine, the speed with which Russia invaded meant they only had time to pack essentials.

And for many, that included their beloved pets.

Puppies were boxed alongside toiletries, hamsters were bundled into crates and cats were strapped into carriers.

Children were pictured tucking small dogs and cats into their jackets to protect them from the frost.

Dramatic photos also show a woman hugging her dog as she crosses an improvised bridge over the River Irpin.

Another exhausted woman struggles with her wheelchair at a triage point in Kyiv after evacuating Irpin with 12 pets.

Refugees reaching train stations and borders have been pictured sharing hugs and kisses with their furry friends – before beginning the next chapter of their ordeal.

Ukrainian soldiers help a woman carrying a small dog on an improvised path across the Irpin River while helping people fleeing the city of Irpin, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Ukrainian soldiers help a woman carrying a small dog across the Irpin River (Image: AP)

A woman evacuated from Irpin cries and kisses a cat wrapped in a blanket at a triage point in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday March 11, 2022. A large-scale evacuation operation of residents of a satellite area of ​​the capital Kyiv continued on Friday with more and more people deciding to leave areas now under Russian control. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

A woman evacuated from Irpin cries while kissing her cat at a triage point in Kyiv (Image: AP)

A Ukrainian girl pets her cat in a coat at the Lviv train station in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Monday, February 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Ukrainian girl keeps her pet cat warm in her coat at Lviv train station (Image: AP)

Antonina, 84 years old, sits in a wheelchair after being evacuated from Irpin along with her twelve dogs, at a triage point in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022. A large-scale evacuation operation of residents of a satellite area of ​​capital Kyiv drove on Friday, with more and more people deciding to leave areas now under Russian control. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Antonina, 84, was evacuated to a triage point in Kyiv along with her 12 dogs (Image: AP)

People left their homes with all kinds of animals like birds, rabbits and even turtles.

At Przemysl train station in Poland, a woman told Inside Edition: “Our dogs are part of our soul, we cannot leave them.”

Ksenia, who fled Odessa with her three cats, added: “We took the cats, we took their food and some of our clothes and that’s all. We lost everything in our house.’

Volunteers at sanctuaries now have dog and cat food ready to give out.

Animal welfare organizations are also working to help refugees and their pets navigate bureaucracy in other countries.

Student Rishabh Kaushik faced days of agony trying to flee Kyiv just before the conflict began.

He had refused to go without his best friend in tow: the rescue dog Maliboo.

However, the 21-year-old was told further paperwork would be needed for the dog before he could fly home to India.

The computer engineering student had asked for help on Facebook, noting in a video posted online that his dog was “really stressed out from all the bombings.”

After intervention by PETA and Felcan Pet Relocation Worldwide, he was allowed to return home.

A woman holds a dog as she crosses the Irpin River on an improvised path under a bridge destroyed by Ukrainian troops to slow any Russian military advance while leaving the city of Irpin, Ukraine, on Saturday March 5, 2022 , escaped. What appeared to be a groundbreaking ceasefire to evacuate residents from two cities in Ukraine quickly fell apart on Saturday, when Ukrainian officials said the shelling halted work to remove civilians hours after Russia announced the deal. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

People have been leaving suitcases and bags for their pets (Image: AP)

A refugee with his dog sits on the side of the road approaching the border with Poland in Shehyni, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

A refugee holds their dog as they rest on the side of the road in Shehyni near the Polish border (Image: AP)

Julia Lazarets plays with her cat Gabriel after fleeing Ukraine and arriving at the train station in Przemysl, Poland on Tuesday 8th March 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)

Julia Lazarets plays with her cat Gabriel after arriving in Przemysl, Poland (Image: AP)

SJA Alumni Association, Dehradun February 27th at 23:28 ? Rishabh Kaushik will move towards the Hungarian border. Dear Josephites and friends, This is a fervent appeal to help our dear Rishabh Kaushik (batch of 2018) as he moves towards the Hungarian border today and will arrive there in a day or two depending on the prevailing circumstances. THIS CALL IS TO FIND A CONTACT IN HUNGARY WHO CAN RECEIVE HIM AND HIS BUDDY AT THE HUNGARIAN BORDER UZGOROD. The Josephites and friends are asked to share this post on their Facebook page for all possible help. Anyone who can help please make a note of his phone number: +380 (50) 800 25 21. You can also contact us for more information at: #9319235655 Praveen Chandhok #97581 91300 Sameer Uniyal #99974 46661 Abhinav Goel #+91 97609 99333 Kamna Bagai

Rishabh Kaushik fled to India with his rescue dog Maliboo (Photo: SJAAlumniDehradun)

Rishabh endured a stressful 25-hour train journey to Budapest, Hungary, where Maliboo vomited regularly due to motion sickness.

During the ten-hour flight to India, the puppy trembled and hid in his jacket.

But now the two are safely home in India and Maliboo has recovered from the trip.

But some fleeing Ukrainians were not so lucky.

They have been forced to make the heartbreaking decision to leave their pets in shelters.

A woman who traveled from Donetsk to Lviv said to her cat Charlie: “You will return home, but you have to stay somewhere else for now.”

She said the 10-hour train journey between the cities has already taken its toll on the confused cat.

In Poland, Joanna Puchalska-Tracz took in 38 dogs and 32 cats at an animal shelter on the outskirts of Przemysl.

The “tired and frightened” pets were brought from Kyiv by the German animal group White Paw.

It is hoped that other governments will relax the rules to make it easier for refugees to enter countries without pet passports.

A Ukrainian girl and her cat wait at the platform in Lviv railway station in Lviv, western Ukraine, on Sunday, February 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A Ukrainian girl and her cat wait at the platform in Lviv train station (Image: AP)

A refugee with a small dog gives a toddler a sip of tea after fleeing the conflict in neighboring Ukraine as they sit on a bus at the Romanian-Ukrainian border on Friday March 4, 2022 in Siret, Romania . (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

A tired little dog looks out of a bus window on the Romanian-Ukrainian border (Image: AP)

Katya holds her two dogs after fleeing Ukraine at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, on Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

Young Katya holds her two dogs at a border crossing in Medyka, Poland (Image: AP)

A refugee who fled neighboring Ukraine before the Russian invasion comforts her dog as they sit in a ballroom at a 4-star hotel & spa in Suceava, Romania, which has been converted into temporary refugee accommodation, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/ Andrea Alexandru)

A refugee comforts her dog as they sit in a ballroom converted into a temporary refugee shelter in Suceava, Romania (Image: AP)

Today the Independent reported that rules allowing Ukrainians to bring their pets to the UK could be relaxed.

Under normal circumstances, pets must be microchipped, have a pet passport or health certificate and have been vaccinated against rabies before entering the UK.

But for those fleeing Ukraine, a full combination of the above may be impossible.

A UK government spokesman told the Independent: “We are aware of the difficult and depressing situation faced by Ukrainian nationals at the moment and the UK government is working flat out to assist them.

“We have strict biosecurity measures in place to protect the public and other animals from diseases that may be brought into the UK by animals from overseas.

“However, the government is looking at ways to support Ukrainian nationals entering the UK with their pets.”

Russia-Ukraine War: Everything You Need to Know

Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, the country has suffered widespread damage and loss of life in a major bombing campaign.

Over two million Ukrainian refugees have fled as cities face shortages of food, water, heat and medicines – and the British public is to be urged to open their homes to Ukrainian refugees.

Countries have retaliated by imposing sanctions on Russia and oligarchs like Roman Abramovich, while big companies like Disney, Starbucks, McDonald’s and Coca-Cola have shut down operations in the country.

Despite these economic blows, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown no signs of calling off the attack anytime soon as a convoy approaches the capital, Kyiv.

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Justin Scacco

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