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.
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.
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.
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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https://metro.co.uk/2022/03/12/ukraine-refugees-show-loyalty-to-their-dogs-cats-and-other-pets-16263306/ Refugees from Ukraine show loyalty to their dogs, cats and other pets