A student from Kerala in Ukraine, who refused to give up her pet dog, waits to catch a flight to India

Arya Aldrin is so attached to her five-month-old pet, a Siberian husky, that she walked nearly 20km carrying him in the freezing Ukrainian winter after a bus dropped her off near the Romanian border .

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Arya, a native of Idukki district in Kerala and a medical student at the Pirogov Memorial National Medical University in Vinnytsya, central-western Ukraine, was caught in the middle of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. And like other Indian students around the country, when she was forced to drop out of college and rush to the safety of a neighboring country, she decided she wasn’t going to leave Zaira, her Husky pup. , behind her. So while other students were busy finding essential food and water supplies, Arya was busy organizing paperwork for Zaira’s safe trip to India and packing the bare minimum.

And after two days of intense struggle and hardship, moving from her university to the Romanian border, Arya and her dog are safe at an airport in Romania, waiting to board an evacuation flight to India. , confirmed his family.

“Arya and Zaira are fine at the airport. They are both tired from the long walk in the freezing temperatures. They have been given enough food and water. But we are just waiting to hear if the dog “will be allowed on the flight. As there are a lot of Indian students waiting to be evacuated, we don’t know if the authorities would allow the dog to fly with her. But she is very determined not to fly without her,” said Chitra, a cousin of Arya in Kerala.

“She had gotten the Husky puppy a few months ago through a friend and she is very close to her. And vice versa. The dog wouldn’t even eat his food if Arya wasn’t there. So we are contacting all important officials to arrange for the dog to fly home with her. We look forward to their return,” she added.

Chitra said Arya and her friend took turns holding the dog as they walked towards the Romanian border. To minimize the weight on her, Arya even ditched most of her luggage and food packets so she could take Zaira with her.

Shyama, a friend of Arya who lives in Kumily, said many Indian students stranded in Ukraine have contacted her through social media platforms asking how they can similarly bring their pets with them. They were inspired to do so after reading Arya’s story on news platforms.

In a video of Arya that has gone viral, she is heard saying: “I sacrificed a lot to bring him (Zaira) with me. After going through so much, if I can’t get her on a plane with me, all my efforts will be in vain. So please pray for us.

Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty praised Arya in a Facebook post: “Without giving up his pet dog, Arya from Vandiperiyar is on his way to India from a country war-torn. He was born out of love and the world benefits from such love.