Nastya Tikhaya, who helps run an animal shelter her parents own in the town of Irpin, near Kyiv, is being hailed a hero for helping abandoned and disabled animals escape the war-torn area.
Along with her husband, Arthur Lee, she is helping animals left behind by their owners as well as homeless animals cross the border into Poland.
A photo of her leading several dogs, including some in wheelchairs, out of destroyed Irpin went viral and is the definition of unconditional love.
The bridge over the Irpin river was destroyed by Russian troops but thankfully Ukrainian territorial defense people were there to help the dogs cross the river.
Most of the dogs were either disabled or seniors and exhausted by the journey. They needed to be carried across the river after walking several miles. Some of the senior pets were abandoned by their families as they fled, but Nastya and her husband refused to leave them behind.
When Nastya was asked why she decided to save the “sick” dogs she told Newsflare, “These are my bunnies [lovelies]. Well, shall I leave them? What is the difference – sick or healthy? Their lives are no less valuable. They are all very good. By the way, these invalids have suffered very much at the hands of man.”
The viral photo was shared on her animal shelter Instagram page to show there is no reason to leave pets behind. They not only saved the disabled and senior dogs but managed to carry other animals as well. The shelter wrote, “For all people, or rather non-humans, who say that they can’t take a cat or a dog with them, that it doesn’t work and abandon the animal!
See how our Nastya left Irpen! On foot, a few km with dogs, with cats! Even a chameleon, a turtle, a hamster and a spider were able to endure.”
But their work is far from over.
The war-stricken area is dangerous to navigate and there are no drugs available to treat injured or sick dogs. Nastya pleads for help as the couple continues to rescue dogs and cats from the streets and arrange transportation to Poland.
They are in desperate need of cat and dog food as they care for the abandoned pets.
Numerous dogs and cats are safe in Poland thanks to the brave couple and countless volunteers. They were taken in by shelters and some of the dogs have even been reunited with their owners.
Follow these heroes on Instagram for updates on their rescue efforts.