A Latvian woman travels to Ukraine to save animals.
In Lviv, Ukraine, on March 7, 2022, a small cat awaits its departure from an animal shelter. Later today, a Latvian volunteer crew will pick up cats and dogs abandoned in Ukraine by refugees and bring them to Latvia. AFP/Kai Pfaffenbach
LVIV, Ukraine, March 7 (Reuters) - Natalia Horobets said an emotional farewell to her beloved pet cat Charly on Monday at an animal shelter in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv.
Horobets and her husband evacuated their home in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine, as Ukrainian forces fought Russian invaders.
However, after a rough voyage west on a crowded train, they chose to give up their pet, reasoning that establishing a new life hundreds of miles from home would be challenging enough without having to care for a hyperactive cat.
Our train journey took 40 hours, Natalia Horobets remarked in Lviv, which, like the rest of Ukraine's west, has largely escaped the fighting thus far. There were a lot of people, and we feared he'd be trampled.
Rasma Krecia, a Latvian volunteer, is the rescuer who hopes to transport Charly and scores of other pets to Poland until the war is ended.
We're going to attempt to get as many animals out as possible, back to Latvia, back to Europe, back to safety, Krecia said as she loaded three vans with the first batch of dogs and cats at the Home for Rescued Animals in Lviv.
A small cat awaits evacuation from an animal shelter in Lviv, Ukraine, March 7, 2022, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Later today, a volunteer crew from Latvia will transport cats and dogs from Ukraine that have been handed over by refugees or left abandoned on the streets in order to provide them with shelter in Latvia.
She stated to Reuters that she could not have remained in Latvia and done nothing. I cannot stay at home if I have an opportunity, if I have a large van, if I can bring food here and save some animals.
Previously, the Lviv sanctuary took in wild animals and strays, but since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24, it has taken in additional animals from individuals escaping the bloodshed.
Now, among foxes and storks, dogs, cats, and even a pet rat compete for attention.
While Reuters was visiting the center, a Lviv resident brought in a half-dozen puppies that a friend discovered in a box at the train station three days before, which is frequented by thousands of internally displaced people.
The Horobets family said their final farewells to their cat as Krecia prepared to install cages in her vans.
Charly, my little one, you will return home, but you must stay in a separate location for the time being; you will be OK there, Natalia Horobets explained.
Volodymir, her husband, stated that they were unsure of their future:"We hope that Ukraine will continue and triumph, and that we will return home.