The Russian invasion of Ukraine has upended countless lives, leaving thousands dead and millions displaced from their homes.
It’s also left many people separated from their beloved pets, whether they’re split at the border or lost amidst the chaos of war. Thankfully, there are also people who are working hard to reunite people with their pets. Recently, one cat made it back to his family after being transported from Ukraine to the United States.
Larysa Frisby, from Ukraine, was in Arkansas when the invasion began in February, and thus avoided having to flee the conflict. However, her cat Persik was still in Odesa, and she was unsure how to get him to safety.
“With the outbreak of hostilities on February 24 in Ukraine, it was hard to believe how this could happen,” Larysa told 5 News Online. “My plans collapsed with the advent of the war to return home to Ukraine and visit my relatives and take the cat with me.”
But soon Humane Society International, which has been helping refugees with pets at the Polish border find safety, heard her story and stepped in to help.
Larysa’s cousin was able to transport Persik from Odesa to Warsaw, Poland. And from there, Kelly Donithan, director of animal disaster response for the Humane Society, was able to fly with the cat from Poland to the US.
“This single story of one cat, Persik, is emblematic of 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,” Kelly said.
“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.”
After arriving in the United States, Persik’s long journey was finally over as he reunited with his loving owner, far from the war in Ukraine. “By the grace of God, the cat is in my home with love and care,” Larysa told 5 News.
“I want to express special gratitude to the people who took part in saving my cat from the war in Ukraine, to everyone who provided help and care in Warsaw for several weeks.”
“While incredibly special, this is not a unique story. We are seeing compassion every day across Ukraine, Europe and around the world,” Kelly said.
“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.”
We’re so glad this cat has made it out of Ukraine and reunited with his owner! Thank you to everyone who made this happen!