Although it was -4 Celsius, we had no option but to collect whatever food we had and move to the basement of our apartment to take refuge from the continuous air strikes. Manya and Dunya, my two cats that never stepped outside the house, were visibly frightened and stressed, hiding inside their bags. Fasya, my dog, kept me warm, licked my face when I cried, and listened patiently to everything I said almost as if she actually understood what I was going through; what we were all going through.
I couldn’t evacuate the place myself as I was old and was all alone in the apartment. My daughter and granddaughter were in India when the strikes suddenly began. Nobody in the town had enough space to help me evacuate with my 3 pets. But there was no question in my mind - I was not going to leave without my pets. I was never going to abandon them. Finally, some good samaritans offered to transport me to the border along with my pets.
For 48 hours, we drove continuously under the airstrike sirens. I and my pets had to walk towards the Romanian border for 8 hours because of the large queue. Manya and Dunya were in my backpack, and Fasya was following me on a leash.
In 24 more hours, I was in Bucharest, waiting for my daughter to arrive from India.
I can't express the relief I felt when I saw her. Feeling lost, scared, exhausted, being literally homeless, not having any proper winter clothes, and not knowing what to do next - but happy to be alive and not losing any of my furry children.
Since the war is not over yet, and our town Irpin got severely destroyed, all this while my granddaughter, who stays in India where she has a family, was trying to figure out how to bring me and her mother to India to live with her until it is safe to go back home.
It took almost 2 months to figure out the documentation for the pets.
Now we are all set to move and finally reunite - except that the trip is turning out to be much more costly than we expected, and much more costly than we can actually afford, given that neither me nor my daughter work at the moment.
Our choices are limited to Qatar airline since that's the only airline that allows pets and files from Sofia to India with a layover outside of the EU. And Qatar is expensive.
Why it's important for the layover to be outside of the EU? Our pets just had their rabies vaccinations done in March, which makes them eligible to travel to or even just transit through the EU no earlier than September 2022 (because of the titer test).
My ticket - 450 USD
My daughter's ticket - 450 USD
Tickets for the 3 pets - 1050 USD
Crates for the 3 pets - 300 USD
Transportation from Nessebar to the Sofia Airport - 200 USD
Total - 2450 USD, or 190000 INR
Kindly help in collecting this amount and let our family reunite without abandoning our furry family.
1) Screenshot from the Qatar Airways website showing the fare for a one-way flight from Sofia to Bangalore for 1 person - we need two, for me and my daughter
2) Screenshot from the Qatar Airways website showing the fare of transporting one pet in the hold of the plane (this airline doesn't accept pets in the cabin of the plane) - we need three
3) Screenshot from the Bulgarian pet store showing the cost of the three crates
4) Manya, Dunya, and Fasya's pet passports alongside the vaccinations
5) Pictures of Irpin
6) Pictures of me and pets in the basement, in the car, crossing the Romanian border
7) Pictures of me, my daughter, and my pets after the evacuation