Elderly Ukrainian refugee reunites with her dog in Ireland after being separated at border

The ongoing war in Ukraine has upended the lives of everyone in the country, with millions having to flee their homes. This has led to some heartbreaking separations, including people being separated from their pets amidst the challenges of crossing the border.

But now, one elderly refugee has reunited with her beloved dog after they were separated by war.

Violetta, 86, was one of the countless Ukrainians who have had to flee Ukraine in recent months. According to the Irish Examiner, she left the country with her family after Debbie Deegan, from County Clare, Ireland, agreed to help them out.

Violetta began a long journey, alongside her son, his wife, and her beloved 13-year-old Labrador, Tasha.

But the elderly woman had never left Ukraine before and didn’t have a passport, creating complications at the Romanian border.

The long journey took an emotional and physical toll on Violetta: “Granny was giving up the will to live,” Debbie Deegan told the Irish Examiner. “She just couldn’t walk any further. She was collapsing at that point and her son and daughter in law had to carry her.”

With everything going on, the family made the difficult decision to leave Tasha behind at the border. They found a family in Romania to temporarily look after the dog until they made it to safety.

It’s a difficult decision that many refugees at the border have had to make. While it made the family’s travels easier, parting with the dog was another heartbreaking for the elderly woman.

β€œShe was just devastated. She was distressed,” Debbie said. “It was like she had given up her child.”

After an exhausting 12-day journey, the family finally made it to Ireland β€” and their host immediately got to work trying to make arrangements to reunite them with their dog.

Debbie says she got in contact with the Romanian family and found a local dog moving company, who got Tasha to the UK. Then, a woman from England took care of the dog for a week, and then a friend of Debbie’s picked up the dog via ferry and brought him to County Clare.

Finally, Violetta reunited with her beloved dog. After seeing Tasha again for the first time in weeks, she was overwhelmed with emotion: Debbie wrote on Facebook that her first words were “Please forgive me for leaving you Tasha, I had no choice.”

“The second we opened the door… She just held on to the dog, and the dog was licking her face and.. it was just gorgeous,” Debbie told the Irish Examiner.

It was a journey that took the dog across eight borders, but was well worth it in the end.

“It’s been a very long journey for her – she has been on the road for two weeks – but what a wonderful happy ending to see Tasha reunited with Violeta today,” Debbie told RTE.

It’s heartbreaking to think of how many Ukrainians have separated from their homes and loved ones, but we’re so glad Violetta has reunited with Pasha. We know this makes things a lot brighter after a long, difficult journey away from home.

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