My second thought on viewing all of these humans unwilling to leave their pets behind is that the U.S. disaster relief system fails to understand that these attachments are strong. People should be allowed to evacuate with their non-human families.
https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-lifestyle-europe-6d0f493e6cab1e5c9b16c108ad13377d? [click thru for wonderfully touching and wrenching photos]
AP PHOTOS: Ukrainians fleeing war ‘can’t leave’ pets behind
Mounds of abandoned clothes and other personal items lie strewn along corridors leading out of Ukraine. The farther people carry their things, the harder it is, so they leave them behind, said Ludmila Sokol, a gym teacher fleeing Zaporizhzhia in the south.
But their pets, they keep alongside them.
People fleeing the outskirts of Kyiv crowded together under a destroyed bridge, carrying little luggage and abandoning their vehicles on the road. But their pets remained with them.
One woman ferried her dog across an improvised bridge over the Irpin River amid the evacuation. Another at a train station in Poland nuzzled her orange cat, nose to nose.
Julia Lazarets plays with her cat Gabriel, after fleeing Ukraine and arriving at the train station in Przemysl, Poland, Tuesday, March 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
A young girl wrapped in an aluminized blanket hugged her two Chihuahuas close as she made the crossing into Medyka, Poland.
And in Siret, Romania, a young mother helped her toddler drink from a paper cup as she cuddled her white Chihuahua. Nearby, a Maltese puppy peered out of a plastic bag filled with toothpaste, shampoo and hand lotion.
Grasping her fluffy white dog, an elderly woman who made it to Romania collapsed in exhaustion in a ballroom converted into a refugee shelter.
Hundreds of thousands are displaced inside Ukraine as well, after fleeing assaults on their hometowns. An 84-year-old woman who gave only her first name, Antonina, sat in a wheelchair at a triage point in Kyiv, holding a miniature poodle and clutching the leashes of her 11 other little dogs after being evacuated from the town of Irpin.
Antonina, 84 years-old, sits in a wheelchair after being evacuated along with her twelve dogs from Irpin, at a triage point in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
Victoria Trofimenko said she felt an obligation to keep not only her family but her pets safe.
The 42-year-old had originally never planned to leave Kyiv, she told The Associated Press by Zoom days after the war started.
Full Coverage: Photography
But as the missiles and explosives rained down she thought about her duty to protect her 18-year-old daughter, 69-year-old mother — and her dog, Akira, and cat, Galileo.
She bought train tickets to head west, eventually ending up in Prague. She said she first arrived in Hungary, though, and was grateful to have Akira by her side for protection.
“I can’t leave dogs or cats. I have to take responsibility,” she said.
A refugee holding her dog sits by the side of the road approaching the border with Poland in Shehyni, Ukraine, Sunday, March 6, 2022. (AP Photo/Daniel Cole)
A girl comforts a cat before the departure of a Lviv bound train, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A refugee who fled the Russian invasion from neighboring Ukraine comforts her dog as they sit in a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022.(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
A woman who was evacuated from Irpin cries kissing a cat wrapped in a blanket at a triage point in Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A Ukrainian girl and her cat wait at the platform inside Lviv railway station, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022, in Lviv, west Ukraine. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A couple talks after people rushed to board a Lviv-bound train in Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A refugee holding a small dog gives a sip of tea to a toddler after fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine, as they sit in a bus at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
A refugee who fled the Russian invasion from neighboring Ukraine comforts his dog as they sit in a ballroom converted into a makeshift refugee shelter at a 4-star hotel & spa, in Suceava, Romania, Friday, March 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
Ukrainian servicemen help a woman carrying a small dog across the Irpin River on an improvised path while assisting people fleeing the town of Irpin, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)
A Ukrainian girl pets her cat in her coat inside Lviv railway station, Monday, Feb. 28, 2022, in Lviv, west Ukraine. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A puppy peers his head from a pet carrier after his owner fled the conflict from neighboring Ukraine at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Sunday, Feb. 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
A refugee fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine wipes away tears after seeing a relative at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Monday, March 7, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
Katya holds her two dogs after fleeing from Ukraine, at the border crossing in Medyka, Poland, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)
A dog named Josephine licks a Ukrainian woman reunited with her sister after crossing the border from Ukraine at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Friday, Feb. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
A woman from neighboring Ukraine, sits with her dog at a train station that was turned into an accommodation center in Przemysl, Poland, on Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)