Russia’s invasion of Ukraine forced many people and animals to flee the country in search of safety. Many people have worked tirelessly to bring their beloved animal companions. Often, they have had to flee with few possessions, uncertain of what lies ahead, where they will end up, or when they will be able to return home.
This was the case for Viktoriia Zalis. Zalis and her beloved dog Waffles fled to Poland with only a small backpack, thinking they would quickly be able to return. Sadly, this did not prove to be the case. Zalis was able to obtain a visa that would allow her to reside in the United States. However, Waffles needed a vaccination before the country would allow him to enter. Despite being told it would only take a few days for Waffles to receive the necessary vaccine, it ended up being over a month.
For how long did you leave your pets? #dogfriend
Zalis ended up flying ahead and leaving Waffles with a friend in Poland while he waited for his vaccine. Then, she needed to find a volunteer to accompany the Maltese to the United States. Finally, Zalis found someone to fly to New York with Waffles. Excitedly, she traveled from Miami to New York to reunite with the dog.
In a video that has received nearly one million likes on the TikTok account @zalis_vic, viewers watched the moment the two finally saw each other again after two months. Waffles can be seen leaping from his travel carrier into his human’s arms, his whole body wiggling with excitement at seeing her again.
Although most viewers found the video adorable, some criticized Zalis for leaving Waffles behind in Poland. However, Zalis responded to this criticism by pointing out that by safely leaving him with a friend for a short time, she was able to arrange a better life for both of them. She stated that by leaving Waffles for this period, she was able to provide the best conditions for him in the long term.
Sadly, many animals and humans have not been as lucky as Zalis and Waffles. While many countries, including Poland, have relaxed their requirements for allowing companion animals to enter, many have failed to do so. Many Animal rights organizations and brave volunteers have been working selflessly to rescue and care for the animals of Ukraine.
We encourage everyone thinking of getting a pet to only adopt instead of shopping. Read more resources about adopting animals on One Green Planet, including 7 Reasons to Adopt Your Next Furry Best Friend, 5 Reasons Why Everyone Should Adopt a Pet, and These Heartwarming Before and After Pictures of Adopted Rescue Animals Will Make Your Day! Read tips for pet adoptions and what to consider before adopting an animal. We recommend using these apps to find shelter dogs near you!
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