This photo of a Ukrainian woman with a proudly raised head and a group of mutilated animals was taken by the American photographer Christopher Okikone a year ago in Irpen.

Shells were exploding all around, battles were going on, and Nastya - that's the name of the volunteer in the photo - was saving her wards.

Then she told TSN that she dreams of taking her parents and 20 four-legged friends who stayed with them out of the villages occupied by the Russians. 

How did it happen and how did the fate of the girl and her dogs develop - it is said in the story of TSN. 20:00.

We will start this story not with Nastya, but with Alabai, who first met the journalists.

"Lyma came from Bakhmut - the military found her," says the volunteer.

The dog was brought to Irpin crippled and exhausted in a tiny enclosure. 

"She couldn't even walk properly and walked in circles. The ligaments grew. She doesn't hurt. She's a young dog, well, unfortunately, you can't fix it," said Nastya.

Now Lyma tries to be around people all the time.

Mobile, playful and gentle.

She became the housewife in this big family.

"They couldn't give it to anyone and now this wonderful dog protects everything for us," says the girl. 

Everything is the house into which Anastasia and her husband moved after the release of Irpen.

And with them - 57 more dogs.


These are our evacuees from the front,

from Mykolayivska (region), from Mariupol. When we evacuated in March, we then went to Irpin for the whole of March to take out animals. A shell flew to a neighboring house - we had to leave," said Nastya.

Today, the 21-year-old volunteer talks about the evacuation with a smile.

Or with a different hairstyle: "How many looks have I changed this year, three days ago I had dreadlocks."

New hairstyle - new post - new salvation story.

Among them is a photo that was discussed by the whole world.


It seems that I was exposed, but in fact the dogs stretched me

. I cursed the photographer to let me pass. I still had a burn from the collar: the dog pulled and the skin was torn," the volunteer said.

Shells were coming from all sides, people were screaming from all sides, and she was pulling the frightened dogs to safety with all her might.

It was painful and not for the photo, says Nastya.

But the photos

helped to find new families for destitute dogs


And mostly abroad.

"Disabled people, who were looking for a home for years, went to live in Europe. I still receive photos with them," says Nastya.

Zyusia the beagle was also found.

"He broke free from the collar and ran away. Five days later we returned to Irpen, and I took away this infection. He returned home. He was sitting in the yard, he did not understand anything at all, where we went for five days," said the volunteer . 

Now Zyusia helps others to recover - those who came here from shelling.

"Nord was taken out on March 18 from Chasovoy Yar, Bakhmut. Nord has an owner, he serves in the Armed Forces, and he lost him. More precisely, he left him with his relatives, and they abandoned him. He searched and found him. And Nord is waiting for his owner, when he will return," said Nastya. 

Someone welcomes old age with warmth.

Most - crippled or sick - slide on the floor.

"It's very difficult, but we decided to choose such a narrow focused specialization," the volunteer shares.

Nastya and her husband clean and take care of almost 60 dogs together.

Friends come to help, volunteers bring food.

"We are actively looking for employees to help us especially with the disabled, to take them for walks, to take care of them," says Nastya.

Crippled dogs are reluctantly dissected, so the family grows.

Nastya does not plan to leave the dogs, but on the contrary, she is looking for ways to improve the conditions and open an official shelter before the next meeting.

"The war became an impetus for me -

I always dreamed of a shelter, but I never dared

. All the time it seemed that it was expensive, scary. All this happened, and there was no choice. The shelter came out by itself," said Nastya.

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