Amid the horrific Russian invasion, many Ukrainians have been able to leave with their furry friends by their sides. But some people are still having trouble getting to safety. Rishabh Kaushik, an Indian student in Ukraine, has been struggling to get his rescue dog named Malibu approved to fly.
Rishabh was trying to evacuate to India amid the war, but he refused to leave without Malibu. The government kept denying his flight without the dog’s paperwork. So, he posted a video online, pleading for someone to help him. All he wanted was for his pup to be safe.
Rishabh was studying software engineering at the Kharkiv National University of Radio Electronics Engineering when the war began. He’s in his final year of college, and he adopted Malibu during his time in Ukraine. He named the rescue pup “Malibu” because it means “sweet.”
Rishabh’s family is from Dehradun, India, so he planned to return there once he realized it wasn’t safe in Ukraine. His family members in Ukraine quickly evacuated the country, but Rishabh couldn’t go with them because of Malibu. He refused to hop on a plane unless his furry friend could be beside him.
The student faced a lot of setbacks when trying to fly back to India. He said the government kept asking for paperwork that he couldn’t obtain because most places in Ukraine were closed. Eventually, he turned to the internet to ask for help. He posted a video sharing his story, hoping someone could find a way for him and Malibu to escape.
“Even my dog is so stressed out about it,” said Rishabh. “He’s really scared about all the bombings happening, and he’s crying all the time with all the bombings happening around.”
After seeing his plea, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) reached out to the Indian government and convinced them to allow pets on flights. With more lenient pet travel restrictions, Rishabh was able to safely fly to India with Malibu by his side.
“There was a lot of documentation in India, the procedure was long. But in war-like situations, they should’ve allowed their own citizens. So, I had put up the appeal. A memorandum had come recently which stated that pets and even strays are now being allowed without NOC,” Rishabh said.
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