10-year-old Agnessa Bezhenar was reunited with her cat Arsenii- left behind at Ukraine as they were forced to flee to US after the Russian incursion of Ukraine.
Agnessa’s mother’s brother-in-law was taking care of Arsenii. He vaccinated and microchipped the cat and got him a passport, Then he drove him on his motorcycle across the border to Moldova. Then another man drove the cat to Bucharest, Romania, where a family of refugees took Arsenii in. Next, an animal rescuer who was on vacation in Greece made it short to pick up the cat from Romania and fly him to the States. But as Arsenii came from a non-EU country, lots of documents had to be checked there. It was then a tuk-tuk driver stepped in and drove Arsenii and Kate from Romania back to make her flight in Athens.
Finally, after traveling 7,000 miles, Arsenii was back with the Bezhenar family in California, USA. And Agnessa couldn’t be happier!
“Now, when Arsenii is with us, it’s like home is with us. Like part of our home is with us,” said Maria Bezhenar, mother of Agnessa.
“She [Agnessa] missed sleeping with her cat and she missed hugging him, she missed everything about the cat because she had grown up with him,” she added.
The Bezhenars are sponsored by Geoffrey Peters who was looking to help the people in Ukraine. His original plan was to go to Europe to help evacuate war refugees but it didn’t work out. But then he was matched with the family through an app.
“Maria sent an email saying we had been matched and we have a family of 6. So, I went to my son and I said, ‘Instead of renting this house,’ which he was planning on doing, ‘would you be willing to donate it for two years?’” said Geoffrey. “And then everybody in the community just wanted to help. So, they started donating money, they donated food, they donated gas cards, they donated gift cards.”
The family expressed their gratitude as they are welcomed warmly into the community at Cloverdale, California. Their relocation to America and transitioning into the new society had been made a lot easier by the generosity and kind reception of the people in Cloverdale.