Journalist and security consultant discover small black puppy in Bucha trashed by drunken Russian troops
NEWS AND COMMENT-BUCHA, UKRAINE: I have just read the report by Catherine Philp of The Times who compiled a war diary while she was out reporting on the Ukraine war. Her article covers the period March 27 to April 17, 2022. On a Saturday she reports that she “finally penetrated Irpin and the scale of destruction takes our breath away”.
She describes streets destroyed, cars shot up and it seems pretty well everything trashed by Russian troops. She was with a house-proud Ukrainian resident, Mikhail, whose home is in Irpin. He learned that the Russian soldiers had taken it over. She writes that the “squalor and wreckage is shocking to see. Every bottle of alcohol in the house has been dragged out and drained. The lavatory is full and clogged with faeces”. Everything indicates to me that these Russian soldiers were behaving deplorably and they were drunk. They were there to trash the country and to kill the civilian residents.
They saw one atrocity after the other. One “is behind the office building of a government construction supplies company where we find the bodies of eight men, hands and ankles bound, dead from gunshots to the head and chest at close range.”
Some had clearly been shot in the back of the head execution style and some had had their shirt pulled over their head beforehand. Their shoes were missing and their bodies were surrounded by garbage including military rations.
I’ve set the scene of complete devastation and mayhem caused by a chaotic Russian army by all accounts out of control and hellbent on destruction of humans, pets and possessions.
And within this hell James, Catherine’s security consultant, and a former Marine, walks out of a building he had gone into check for explosives holding a small black puppy. He found the puppy alone on a sofa in what appears to have been a Russian military base.
James didn’t see the puppy at first but heard his tail thumping against the sofa. The Russians had left three days earlier and no doubt James and Catherine were the first people he had seen since then. They named him Buchie. He slept in Catherine’s arms, “snuggling into me, trying to get as close to body warmth as he can”.
Catherine contacted Dominic Dyer, a colleague and friend of Mr Pen Farthing the famous animal rescuer who evacuated Kabul, Afghanistan with 200 rescue animals from his foundation, Nowzad. Dominic Dyer is a well-known animal welfare campaigner who put Catherine in touch with Naturewatch. They said that they would take in Buchie if she could get him to the capital of Ukraine, Kyiv.
But suddenly Buchie fell ill. He was unable to keep down food or water. She took him to a veterinarian where he stayed on a drip all night. He was given vitamin injections. He recovered. He had inward-pointing ears due to a calcium deficiency (see photo). He was fed properly and his ears straightened out. She found a new home for him. His new owners were happy to take him in. Catherine writes:
“Buchie saw me and jumped into my arms and I looked up at James, our big strong marine security consultant, whose eyes were glistening with tears. Then I started crying too. Later I spoke to my colleague Anthony Lloyd on the phone and after teasing me he said, ‘There is more in those tears than a dog'”.
Yes, but this dog was a shaft of light in a country shrouded in the deep darkness of war crimes.