Devoted Dog Walks 300 Kilometers to Return to Owner Who Saved Her

There’s no limit to canines’ devotion to their human masters, and the story of this adopted stray in Russia who traveled a distance of over 300 kilometers to return to the owner who saved her from the jaws of death, mended her broken legs and surrounded her with love, is perfect proof.

26-year-old Nina Baranovska, from Rostov, Russia, says she’ll never forget the day she first laid eyes on her dog Shavi . She was brought to her on a cold January night by a couple of kindhearted animal lovers who had found her lying in landfill on the outskirts of Rostov notorious as a dump site for unwanted pets. Two of her legs were broken, she was almost frozen and all she could do was whine in pain. Her rescuers had noticed a collar trace around her neck, a sign that she had probably been hit by a car and her owners, unwilling to go through the trouble of mending her wounds, simply dumped her at the local landfill to die.

They gently picked up the wounded black mongrel, put her in their car where they gave her warm water and wrapped her in a blanket. They drove for hours seeking the help of veterinarians in Rostov, but no one was willing to treat her for free. Finally, they found a vet who offered to give them a discount. She had many bruises, lacerations and both her hind legs were broken. The doctor who operated on her inserted metal screws into her legs and said that she might one day walk again.

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Photo: Ivan Timofeev/Komsomolskaya Pravda

Meanwhile, the rescuers took to the internet to find someone willing to take the black dog in and mend her back to full health. Nina Baranovska was the only one who replied. She was living with her mother and daughter, and already had three cats and two adopted stray dogs, but she couldn’t resist helping an animal in need. The animal was dropped off right after the operation, and Nina remembers that after washing away the mud, she thought the dog looked a lot like a black fox. They made a special connection the moment the dog recovered from the anesthesia. “After the anesthesia, when she saw me, she raised her weary eyes and timidly licked my hand,” Nina told Komsomolskaya Pravda.

On the first day in Nina’s care, the dog, who she named Shavi (Georgian for “black), impressed her once again. Instead of simply doing her business on the bed sheet that she laid on, as most dogs in her condition probably would have, she tried crawling outside. The pain must have been excruciating, and the young woman found her lying exhausted on the front doorstep. She put some baby diapers on the dog and carried her back to her resting place.

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Photo: Ivan Timofeev/Komsomolskaya Pravda

Shavi got better with each passing day, and soon started to walk again. She proved a sweet, gentle dog, who loved playing with Nina’s daughter Maya and the other animals in her care. Teaching her basic commands proved an easy task, as Baranovska says she was really smart and eager to learn. The only things she had trouble with were strangers and cars. While the first just seemed to make her uneasy, moving vehicles seemed to terrify her.

Six months after Shavi arrived, she had made a full recovery, and Nina Baranovska started looking for owners willing to take her in. She had become attached to the sweet dog, but feeding and tending to her own pets had been difficult enough on a small salary. A new addition to the family seemed too much to handle. However, the only friends interested in adopting Shavi lived in the Voronezh region, around 290 kilometers from Rostov.

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Photo: Ivan Timofeev/Komsomolskaya Pravda

Giving Shavi away was tough, but the more Nina thought about it, the more she agreed that the dog would be better off in the countryside with plenty of room to play, fresh air and a family that genuinely wanted her. So they said goodbye.

Only just a few days later, the 26-year-old woman received a phone call from her friends who told her that they had come back from work to find Shavi’s enclosure empty. She had apparently dug a tunnel under the fence and crawled through. They had looked through the whole village for her, but no one seemed to had seen her. Saddened by the news, Nina had no option but to hope that the dog would somehow find her way back to her friends’ house, while avoiding dog catchers and other perils.

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Photo: Ivan Timofeev/Komsomolskaya Pravda

But Shavi had other plans in mind. Two weeks after she received the phone call, as she was coming home, Nina felt something wet moving on her leg and looked down only to see the black dog licking her and wagging her tail. She was battered and shockingly thin, but Nina could see nothing but happiness in the animal’s eyes. She leaned down, Shavi jumped into her arms, and they both started to cry. “Most people don’t notice that dogs can laugh and cry too,” she said. “Or maybe they don’t want to see.”

After covering 290 kilometers in two weeks, Shavi was exhausted. For a few days she did nothing but eat, drink and sleep, but Nina mended her back to health once again. Whenever she got ready to go to work, Shavi would try to stop her, unwilling to part with her beloved master again, but the woman did everything to convince her that this time she was there to stay.

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Just as impressive as the 290 km journey Shavi made is the fact that she managed to track down her owner at an entirely new location in Rostov. Nina told reporters that during the time that Shavi was away, she and her family had managed to move to a bigger home about five bus stations away from the former. And that’s where Shavi turned up.

“I’ve heard amazing stories about dogs’ loyalty, but I never imagined this sort of thing would ever happen to me,” Nina said. “Even now, I can hardly believe this dog traveled such a long distance to find us, and most importantly track us down to a new location.”

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Photo: Ivan Timofeev/Komsomolskaya Pravda

“Of course, now she has remained with us for good, I would never give this kind of friend away again. Animals are the most loyal and loving creatures in the world. For every drop of human love, they are willing to give all of theirs in return, and I know that from personal experience. Shavi is like a child to me now.”

After it was published in the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, Nina and Shavi’s story melted the hearts of animal lovers all over Russia, many of which declared themselves willing to help Nina with money or anything else she might need. However, the Rostov native had this to say: “I am really very touched, thank you all from the bottom of my heart! But I don’t need money, I didn’t do this for monetary gains. If you really want to help, I beg you, don’t ignore animals that need your help. I never grow tired of repeating this – animals are the most devoted and loving creatures. They need our love and care.”