A 10-year-old girl was devastated to leave her cat behind when her family fled Ukraine. But they recently reunited in California.

As the war in Ukraine continued to escalate, the Bezhenar family members manufactured the difficult choice to leave the place in July. They had to depart every little thing at the rear of – their organization, their dwelling, and even their pets, which devastated their 10-year-outdated daughter. 

“We could not consider any animals that we have,” Maria Bezhenar, a mom of a few, informed CBS News. “We requested my brother-in-law to check out about the animals and the youngest 1, Agnessa, she was crying each time. She suggests, ‘I want to go back dwelling. My animals are there, my cats are there.’ And we could not assist her.” 

Bezhenar and her spouse, Aleksander, very first moved to Romania with their three daughters, Eleanor, Agnessa, and Angelina, as effectively as Bezhenar’s mom. They could only remain quickly, so, they decided to shift to the United States. They promised Agnessa they would undertake a cat once they got there.

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10-12 months-outdated Agnessa was devastated to leave driving her beloved cat, Arsenii, when her spouse and children fled Ukraine. 

Maria Beznehar


Bezhenar uncovered a software, UkraineTakeShelter.com, which aids refugees discover housing in the U.S., and she connected with Geoffry Peters in Cloverdale, California. 

Peters has focused his life to performing for charities, and is now on the board of a fundraising agency for nonprofits. His newest mission was supporting a loved ones from Ukraine move to the U.S.

“Can you think about your lifestyle currently being turned upside down and you have to leave a nation you’ve got by no means remaining before, experience on an airplane you have never ever performed in advance of? Get there in a new region, learn a language,” Peters advised CBS Information. “I suggest, it’s like setting up from scratch, only it is really on steroids. It really is like everything relocating 100 miles an hour.”

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Geoffry Peters made available a household to the Bezhenar spouse and children right after assembly them via a web-site that connects Ukrainian refugees with housing.

Maria Beznehar


Peters experienced a next dwelling for the Bezhenars and aided them expedite their move to the U.S. But they arrived a minimal far too rapidly – Peters and his spouse ended up on family vacation when they obtained there in July.

“The household was an empty residence,” he reported. “So, we contacted all of our mates in the community in this article in Cloverdale, California and pretty much they furnished the full house from major to bottom. Beds for each person in the spouse and children, kitchenware, utensils, plates.”

His grandchildren greeted the family members with signals at the airport and drove them to Cloverdale, where by they noticed how generous the group experienced been, Bezhenar said, contacting the minute “unbelievable.” 

Eventually, Peters and his spouse arrived household and fulfilled the Bezhenars, and they formed a link. “When we observed them, they became like our father and mother. I contact him ‘adoptive father,'” Bezhenar mentioned. 

Due to the fact coming to the U.S., the spouse and children has built numerous changes. They have gotten their California motorists licenses. The women have enrolled in college — the two eldest in junior college. And Aleksander is doing the job to restart his job promoting and putting in wallpaper. They even adopted a new cat, but Agnessa nonetheless felt just one factor was continue to missing — their beloved cat, Arsenii. 

As fate would have it, Bezhenar befriended a flight attendant on the way to the U.S.. She stored in contact with her and questioned if she realized any individual who could aid.

“I requested her if she is familiar with anything about the cats, how cats can fly and what documents cats want. And she states, ‘I never definitely know about this, but my buddy who is an additional flight attendant from Hawaii, she ought to know every little thing about that,'” Bezhenar remembers.

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A flight attendant linked the relatives with an animal rescue. Another person from the rescue was in Greece on trip, and presented to travel to choose up Arsenii and bring him to San Francisco, wherever the spouse and children reunited with their beloved pet.

Maria Bezhenar


That next flight attendant knew people today who labored for an animal rescue. They contacted somebody from the rescue, who was presently in Europe on holiday. She volunteered to tack on some added travel — to pick up Arsenii, bringing him to all the way to California.

“She just determined to travel to Bucharest to do almost everything needed for the cat, and she brought the cat back to Greece and from Greece to Montreal and from Montreal to Seattle and from Seattle to San Francisco. That was a very long journey,” Bezhenar stated.

This time, the Bezhenar family were being the kinds waiting at the airport with symptoms: “Welcome residence Arsenii.” Agnessa cried tears of pleasure.

They left several points driving in Ukraine, but in California, they attained loved ones. “We are surrounded by fantastic people below,” Bezhenar explained.