How one woman’s love for dogs led her on a four-day journey to escape from Ukraine

A dog owner displayed immense courage by driving her 20 French bulldogs through Ukraine while bombs were falling overhead. Olena Lukash, who initially didn’t believe that a war could break out in Ukraine, changed her mind when she saw Russian shells landing near her house. Realizing the potential danger her “four-legged children” faced, Lukash decided to flee her home and drive towards Poland. The 53-year-old expertly crammed all the dogs into her Hyundai Tucson before embarking on a four-day journey. The dogs were packed snugly together, blissfully unaware of the peril they were escaping. Lukash plans on returning to the warzone to save more helpless animals.

Owner Olena Lukash with her French bulldogs

Incredibly, Olena Lukash and her husband Alexander left their French bulldogs in Poland and returned to their Russian-occupied town to rescue 30 more dogs before fleeing to Vinnitsa, which is 173 miles away from Kyiv. However, they will need to make the same lengthy drive back to Poland next week. Olena acknowledges that they are struggling financially as they need £378 [₴14,699] each week to feed the dogs. To her, the dogs are like her children and her job centers around them since French Bulldogs have been her favorite breed for three decades. She was initially in disbelief when the war began but once shells started falling near her house, she knew she had to save her beloved pets.

Olena Lukash with her husband Alexander

Olena Lukash, along with her husband Alexander, embarked on a mission to save their beloved dogs from the conflict-ridden region. The couple transported the first batch of 10 dogs and 10 puppies to Poland on March 9, which took them four days due to heavy traffic. However, they had to return home as their village became occupied by Russian troops. They then took the remaining 20 dogs and 10 puppies to a safe location, 300km away from the hostilities. Olena is determined to take all her dogs to Europe to ensure their safety. She loves her dogs deeply and is willing to go to great lengths to protect them. Despite the challenges, she is managing well and feels confident in her ability to keep her furry friends out of harm’s way.

She crammed them into her car as she fled Russian bombs

After escaping Russian bombs in her car with a group of dogs, Olena is now in Vinnitsa, Ukraine, with the remaining pups. However, she is in need of funds to continue her rescue mission. She receives many messages from people offering help, but individual donations are what keep her mission afloat. Despite this, her American friends have remained silent and have not offered any support. Olena estimates that she spends around £378 a week on food for the dogs, but this does not include medicine or other supplies. Gasoline is also very expensive at the moment, making it challenging for her to travel. Even so, Olena plans to continue rescuing dogs and has already formed groups in neighbouring countries to help them find safe homes. She is grateful for her husband’s support throughout this difficult time and knows that she would not have been able to cope without him.

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