A Ukrainian grandmother who was evacuated at the start of the war has been reunited with her beloved dog in an emotional get-together.
Violetta, from Odessa, was separated from her “best friend”, a 12-year-old black Labrador named Tasha, for several weeks due to the conflict in Ukraine with Russia.
However, on Sunday, the two were brought back together with the 86-year-old sitting outside all morning, patiently waiting for her pet pooch to arrive.
Wrapped up in her big puffer jacket and a wooly hat, Violetta clutched a tennis ball in her hand before she became “extremely emotional” when they were finally reunited.
Violetta fled the Ukraine with her family to Ireland when the war with Russia first broke out, according to the Irish Mirror. She attempted to bring Tasha with her but they were forced to separate in Romania as she could not carry the dog any further.
Tasha was taken in by a kind Romanian family but Violetta was completely heartbroken about leaving her behind.
The family including Violetta and her son and daughter-in-law, traveled through Ukraine, Moldova, Romania and Austria and eventually arrived in Ireland as refugees in early March where they were welcomed with open arms by the locals in county Clare.
However, after hearing their story, Dublin woman Debbie Deegan, who had helped Violetta’s family to get to Ireland, put in more hours of tireless work to make sure the two were reunited.
Debbie told the Irish Mirror that when she met Violetta at Dublin Airport, the grandmother could only speak about her dog, Tasha.
“Violetta was quite stressed about the whole thing and by the time they got to Romania they weren’t able to manage the dog so they gave it to a Romanian family.
“It devastated her. She was broken-hearted. It was her best friend of her, so she told me when she met me. ”
With the help of Violetta’s granddaughter, they managed to track down the Romanian family who were minding Tasha and after a lot of red tape as well as the help of kind strangers, they were able to bring the dog as far as England.
Debbie then put out a message on a Ukrainian Help site in the UK and was contacted by “a magnificent woman”, Lisa Kay, who offered to mind Tasha the dog at her picturesque, farm near Birmingham, until she was able to be brought to Ireland.
Pictures of the emotional reunion show Tasha leaping up to lick her owner’s face, while a beaming Violetta smiles and pets her head.
Tasha was hosted there for a week until she was collected on Saturday by another of Debbie’s friends John D’Arcy from Waterford who went to England by ferry to collect Tasha.
Five years ago his own dog Gertie, also a small black Labrador, fell off a cliff in Stradbally in Co Waterford but lived to tell the tale and was rescued by the Irish Coast Guard almost a week later.
When John heard about the story of Tasha the black Lab, he couldn’t believe the uncanny resemblance she had with Gertie and quickly set about organizing to go and pick her up.
The costs of his trip were kindly covered by his friends in Co Waterford and he traveled with a companion, Sar’anne Walsh, by ferry to England on Saturday to collect Tasha.
“It’s not about money at all, it’s really about kindness and people like John and Lisa in England and the family in Romania,” said Debbie. “The kindness has just been extraordinary.”
And the amazing six-week search came to a heart-warming ending on Sunday when the two best friends, Violetta and Tasha, were finally reunited.
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