Bound by shared love for rare dog breed, Newport Beach woman helps Ukrainian


A shared love for Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retrievers has led in recent years to an acquaintance between a Newport Beach resident named Elaine and Tatyana, a Ukrainian who owns and operates a kennel in her native country devoted to the breed. rare of dogs.

Elaine, who asked to keep her surname private for security reasons, became concerned for Tatyana’s well-being after Russian forces began invading Ukraine in late February.

“She has championship dogs and built a great business in Kharkiv, selling all over Europe, and then it happened,” the Newport Beach woman said of the upset. “Tatyana is in her early 40s, lives at zero degrees in a hut [instead of her] beautiful house. She was an internationally successful woman and week in and week out…” she said, her voice trailing off.

“It’s so unbelievable, hard to understand,” she added.

Tatyana, who also asked to be identified only by her first name, fled her home in Kharkiv as her city was under siege. She, her teenage daughter, and her daughter’s boyfriend hid in an underground shelter heated by a rustic wood stove. She agreed to be interviewed for this story via Facebook posts and shared photos she took of their bunker.

“Now a few people have helped us materially,” she said this week. “Assistance was needed for the route and some arrangements here. I had to buy a few appliances including an electric stove for cooking.

Tatyana bought an electric cooker so she could cook meals for her family at the shelter.


Although she has her own “tollers” – Vella, Winnie and Masha – with her in the hideout, as well as her two cats, a beagle and a pit bull who belong to someone else, she says she longs to her normal life and that she would like to be back at work.

“I really want to have a puppy at home, they smell so much like milk…so wonderful to see how they grow…start to run…how they leave for the people who love them later,” writes Tatyana from his sad refuge. “I have the first toll kennel in Ukraine, I brought the first toll girl here.”

A makeshift table holds three bowls of food for Tatyana, her daughter, and her boyfriend in the underground shelter.

A makeshift table holds three bowls of food for Tatyana, her daughter and her boyfriend in the underground shelter in Ukraine.


She said she was focused on the health of her pets. “They feed well and don’t shed their condition,” she said. “For me, it’s very important – the condition of my animals. I can’t give myself something, but rather give it to them.

Tatyana explained that it was terrifying when the barrage of fighting was right above our heads and it was hard to figure out exactly what was going on.

“Today my daughter’s boyfriend slammed the door loudly – I thought my heart was going to stop. This is terrible. My cat sneezed [and] I was scared,” Tatyana said. “My head hurts now… my head hurts now from the silence.”

With two tolls of her own, Elaine was connected to a worldwide group of 300 members of other breed owners.

Nova Scotia duck toll collectors, Brandy in the pool gets splashed by Tucker who hops for joy.

Nova Scotia duck toll collectors, Brandy in the pool gets splashed by Tucker who hops for joy.

(Elaine D.)

Through the connections she made there, she got involved in collecting donations to help Tatyana and her family.

“I wired some money today and I hope she will receive it by Friday, I hope, if Ukrainian banks are up and running,” Elaine said. “I told Tatyana to check the bank and she said, ‘I need to calm down before I go out.'”

“I told him ‘go when you can and you’ll be fine,'” Elaine said. “‘You are very brave and strong.'”

Tatyana wrote to Elaine: “Thank you for all your love and support, very important to us at this time.” She went on to say that she was grateful for their friendship. She told herself she was also grateful to have the company of her daughter and her boyfriend, whom she considers her own child, and the dogs and cats in the bunker with them.

“Now I want to go home,” Tatiana told her friend. “I’m very depressed right now.”

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