Dog goes on 1,800 mile trip across Europe to be reunited with Ukrainian gran, 86

86-year-old Ukranian refugee is reunited with pet dog Tasha in touching video
Violetta, 86, feared she would never see her dog Tasha ever again (Picture: @omainnintomas/Twitter)
An 86-year-old Ukrainian refugee who was forced to leave her beloved dog behind has finally been reunited with her best friend. Violetta, fled Odessa with her family when Russia first invaded, and tried to bring her black Labrador-cross Tasha with her. But she was forced to leave the dog behind with a family in Romania as she was ‘getting weaker’ and couldn’t carry her pet any further. Violette feared she would never see Tasha again, as her family travelled onwards and arrived in Ireland in early March.

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But the pair were finally brought together on Sunday during a touching reunion in County Clare on Sunday. Violetta sounded overwhelmed with emotion as Tasha jumped out of the crate to lick her owner’s face.

‘Please forgive me, I had no choice but to leave you,’ the grandmother told her dog.

86-year-old Ukranian refugee is reunited with pet dog Tasha in touching video
Tasha was feeling a bit sore but otherwise grand after four days in the back of a van for the final leg of her trip (Picture: @omainnintomas/Twitter)

Violetta was crying about leaving her 13-year-old pet behind the moment she got off the plane with her son and his wife.

But after hearing what had happened, charity worker Debbie Deegan, who helped get the family to Ireland, made it her mission to bring the pair back together.

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With the help of Violetta’s granddaughter, they managed to find the Romanian family who were looking after Tasha. After taking care of a load of red tape, Debbie’s friend John D’Arcy, from Waterford, fundraised to pay for a company to transport the dog as far as England.
86-year-old Ukranian refugee is reunited with pet dog Tasha in touching video
Violetta and her family were overwhelmed with emotion during the touching reunion (Picture: @omainnintomas/Twitter)
After putting out a message on a Ukrainian Help website in the UK, Debbie was contacted by Lisa Kay, who offered to temporarily look after Tasha at her idyllic farm near Birmingham.

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On Saturday John travelled to Britain via ferry with dog handler Ser’anne Walsh for the last leg of the mission to bring Tasha to Ireland. ‘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 marked the end of a 12-day journey covering 1,800 miles across seven countries’ borders.

86-year-old Ukranian refugee is reunited with pet dog Tasha in touching video
Tasha was taken on a 12-day journey covering 1,800 miles (Picture: @omainnintomas/Twitter)
86-year-old Ukranian refugee is reunited with pet dog Tasha in touching video Debbie Deegan|Twitter
‘They really are best friends there’s no doubt about it. They’re an inseparable pair’ (Picture: Debbie Deegan/Twitter)
‘Granny immediately started to cry and to be honest we were all blubbering when it happened. It was so emotional,’ Debbie told Newstalk.

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‘When she saw granny she just completely lit up. All she started to do was this mad licking of Violetta’s face.’

Debbie, founder of youth charity Children With Love – told how Tasha was ‘a bit sore’ after spending four days in the back of a van, but was otherwise ‘grand’.

‘We went back then to Violetta’s room and she was tucked up in the room with a blanket around her and the dog was just lying back in her arms, she added.

‘They really are best friends there’s no doubt about it. They’re an inseparable pair.’

Pitter patter. A large breed dog’s resting heart beats between 60 and 100 times per minute, and a small dog breed’s heart beats between 100-140. Comparatively, a resting human heart beats 60-100 times per minute.

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