Watch: Ukrainian dog reunited with 86 year old owner after travelling 1,800 miles

Ukrainian dog Tasha being reunited with owner Violetta
(Image credit: RTE News Ireland/YouTube)

The heartwarming story of a Ukrainian dog who has traveled 1,800 miles to reunite with his beloved owner is putting smiles on dials around the world - which is exactly what we all need right now. 

Black Labrador-cross Tasha was left with friends in Romania after her owner, 86-year-old Ukrainian refugee Violetta, realized she was too weak to carry her canine companion any further.

Fleeing the war immediately after Russia invaded, Violetta and her family made their way to Ireland in early March, the distraught grandmother fearing she would never see Tasha again. 

But in a remarkably happy ending, the pair were finally reunited on Sunday as Tasha arrived in County Clare, thanks to the help of charity worker Debbie Deegan who had heard about the pair’s plight and was desperate to see them back together.

As Tasha jumped out of her crate, Violetta was overwhelmed with emotion. “Please forgive me, I had no choice but to leave you,” she said to her dog as Tasha began enthusiastically licking her face.

It took some time for Deegan and Violetta’s granddaughter to track down the friends in Romania who were caring for Tasha and even longer to cut through the red tape and raise funds for the journey to England.

But finally, on Saturday, Deegan’s close friend John D’Arcy boarded a ferry to England to collect Tasha and accompany her on the last leg of her journey. “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 Violetta today,” Debbie told RTE.

Tasha’s emotional arrival in Ireland marked the end of a 12-day voyage that covered 1,800 miles and the crossing of seven different borders. But the weeks of preparation and the epic journey were well worth it for those who got to watch Tasha and Violetta being reunited.

“Granny immediately started to cry and to be honest we were all blubbering when it happened. It was so emotional,’” Debbie told Newstalk. ‘“When she saw granny she just completely lit up. All she started to do was this mad licking of Violetta’s face.”

While Tasha was described as being somewhat sore after her four days of traveling in the back of a van, all was soon forgotten when she saw Violetta. “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.”

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.