Humane Society International has been working tirelessly on the ground in Poland, Romania, Germany, and Italy since the beginning of the war. Recently, they heard of a Ukrainian woman named Larysa who was in Arkansas when the war began, but her cat was back in Ukraine. Her cat named Persik was in Ukraine with Larysa’s cousin, Alexander, and he was able to successfully evacuate Persik from Ukraine with a friend.
Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for Humane Society International, was in Poland when she heard of the news about Persik and Larysa. She connected with Larysa and was able to get approval to fly Persik (which means Peach in Ukrainian) back to the United States with her. The cat was already fully vaccinated, microchipped, and has his pet passport, so it was a smooth journey!
Throughout the process, Donithan connected with Larysa on zoom before finally bringing Persik back to his new home in Arkansas.
Donithan said about the experience, “This single story of one cat, Persik, is emblematic of what Humane Society International has seen through the chaos and trauma of this war: strangers and communities coming together to help one another however they can, including beloved animals.
“Larysa nearly lost hope of ever seeing Persik, but someone always jumped in to assist and bring this cat out of the war and ultimately to his mom. I am grateful that I was able to help finally get him home. While incredibly special, this is not a unique story. We are seeing compassion every day across Ukraine, Europe and around the world. It is a painful and horrific time, but all of these small acts of kindness are keeping and bringing families together when they need it most. Even during the darkest times, it is clear how much pets mean to their families.”
Larysa was incredibly happy to finally have her fluffy cat back in her arms and expressed gratitude for the organization that did everything they could to bring him safely back to her.
“I had to make a lot of efforts in order to find a person in difficult circumstances during the hostilities in Ukraine who agreed to take the cat out of Ukraine and now, by the grace of God, the cat is in my home with love and care. I pray for the people of Ukraine, for my father in Ukraine, for relatives and friends. We pray that the Lord will stop this war and protect the people of Ukraine!”
The people who are staying or going to Ukraine and the borders are truly heroes and deserve all of the credit!
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