There was no way Yana Ivanova was leaving Puppy, the family dog, behind when the decision was made to leave their home in Ukraine.
“She’s our baby and we love her so much. We didn’t even think about it,” Ivanova said.
Ivanova is from Kremenchuk, a few hours southeast of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv where sirens and bombing were all within ear shot and curfews part of daily life.
“Even for now I have this fear when I hear something in the sky like now. It’s a bit scary,” she said.
In early March the 28-year old and her mother Luda decided to flee the country.
There was a bump along the way.
Puppy was having a puppy.
“I don’t know how to do that. Especially in the bus,” Ivanova said. “We were in the bus going to the shelter, like Polish shelter.”
Not wanting to make the other refugees even more uncomfortable, Ivanova got off the bus.
In frigid weather, on the side of the road, the puppy was born. That’s when Ivanova reached out to a close friend.
“She loves Pomeranians and she has such an experience and she told me what to do exactly,” she said.
They named the puppy Munchies, whose journey to Canada was just beginning.
The family hopped on another bus and continued on with stops in Switzerland, France and Germany.
While in Zurich, Puppy developed a life-threatening infection. They found a clinic that provided the care needed at no cost.
“They help us so, so much,” Ivanova explained.
They recently completed their 8,200 km journey to Windsor where Ivanova, her mother and husband are staying with family.
Both Puppy and Munchies are doing well and got a checkup Wednesday at the Windsor/Essex County Humane Society.
“We wanted to make sure they have that wellness care. We know they need parasite prevention. Munchies is going to need vaccines,” Melanie Coulter, executive director of the humane society said. “We offered to support them with that while they are getting settled.
“We met Ukrainians. We met people who are helping us and we felt home,” Ivanova said. “This is amazing. We really appreciate this help.”