Wednesday, March 02, 2022

Kerala student in Ukraine, who refused to abandon her pet dog, waits to board flight to India

Kochi: Arya Aldrin is so attached to her five-month-old pet, a Siberian husky, that she walked nearly 20 kms carrying it in the freezing Ukrainian winter after a bus dropped her near the Romanian border.

Arya, a native of Kerala’s Idukki district and studying medicine at the National Pirogov Memorial Medical University in Vinnytsya in west-central Ukraine, was caught in the middle of the Russian invasion in Ukraine. And like other Indian students in the country, when she was forced to leave the university and scurry to the safety of a neighbouring country, she decided that she was not going to leave Zaira, her Husky puppy, behind. So while other students were engaged in finding essential food and water supplies, Arya was busy arranging documents for Zaira’s safe travel to India and packing bare minimum.

And after two days of intense struggle and hardships, moving from her university to the Romanian border, Arya and her dog are safe at an airport in Romania, waiting to board an evacuation flight to India, her family confirmed.

“Both Arya and Zaira are doing fine at the airport. They are both tired from the long walk in the freezing temperatures. They received adequate food and water supplies. But we are just waiting to hear from her on whether the dog would be allowed on the flight. Since there are a lot of Indian students waiting to be evacuated, we are not sure if the officials would permit the dog to fly with her. But she’s very determined that she would not fly without her,” said Chitra, a cousin of Arya in Kerala.

“She had gotten the Husky pup a few months ago through a friend and she’s very close to her. And vice-versa. The dog wouldn’t even eat her food if Arya is not around. So we are contacting all the important officials to somehow get the dog to fly with her back home. We are eagerly awaiting their return,” she added.

Chitra said Arya and her friend took turns to hold the dog while walking to the Romanian border. To minimise the weight on her, Arya even abandoned most of her luggage and food packets to be able to take Zaira with her.

02/03/22 Vishnu Varma/Indian Express

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