From Ukraine to Coleraine:The travels of Petya the Guinea Pig.

Andy Shaw

It is one year on from the start of the Ukraine war. When Sasha Petrova and her children, Markus and little Sasha, left their apartment in war torn Ukraine last year after Kyiv came under attack, they had to leave behind Petya the guinea pig.

Having settled in Coleraine it was feared that they would never see their little furry friend again. Sasha made sure Petya was left with enough food and water and left the key to the apartment with a trusted elderly neighbour who didn’t want to leave her home of half a century despite the constant shelling by the Russians.

Sasha and family managed to get transportation from the Medyka ( on the Ukraine/Poland border ) refugee hub to Ireland. It took two days to get to Dublin where they stayed for several weeks until a Ballymoney church group very generously offered the family a home in the Coleraine area.

Having discovered that Petya had been found safe and well and transported into Poland by kind refugees from Kyiv, Markus and little Sasha were hopeful of being reunited with their beloved guinea pig even though they had been given a guinea pig by a local family. It was a very generous gesture but it just wasn’t Petya.

Furry Petya had been passed on to a family friend who had been granted a UK visa so managed to get Petya to the Norfolk area where a local family fostered him.

In a strange twist to the story off duty members of both the PSNI and the International Legion for the Defense of Ukraine heard about the furry adventurer and decided to make a joint effort to reunite Petya with Markus and little Sasha. Phone calls were made and favours called in.

All the stops were pulled out with and Petya was transported from Norwich to Liverpool where Markus and Sashas’ mother, who had travelled over on the Belfast Liverpool ferry, then collected Petya and got the next ferry back to Belfast. Then Sasha was picked up by the ILDU officer and transported back north to Coleraine. The costs for the whole journey were covered by PSNI officer ‘Guy’.

Markus and little Sasha were then surprised to see their mother with their much loved Guinea Pig after his months of European adventures.

Sasha, Markus and little Sasha expressed their thanks to the PSNI and International Legion.

”Thank you so much for everything. We left Ukraine with one bag each and this means so much to my children. Thank you”.

Little Sasha looks on as her brother Markus holds Petya (photo S.Petrova)
Author profile

BA Journalism Mature Student at UUC.