Cedar Rapids man’s pet rescued from Ukraine after war begins

Misha, a dog from Ukraine.
Misha, a dog from Ukraine.
Published: Mar. 12, 2022 at 10:49 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A dog belonging to a Cedar Rapids man is now safely out of war-torn Ukraine.

Nathan Smith is from Cedar Rapids but he’s lived in Ukraine for the past five years. Part of his life there is his beloved dog Misha.

Earlier this year, Smith left Ukraine for a vacation in Argentina. He left Misha with a friend, not knowing that war was coming. He said when the war started that friend had to stop dogsitting, so she left Misha with someone else.

“The friend took her outside and—my dog is very afraid of thunder or loud explosions—and so there were there were explosions in Kyiv and she ran off,” Smith said.

Smith guessed that Misha was loose in the war zone for about four days.

“It just felt like, you had to feel like...I’m never going to see her again,” Smith said.

Smith initially got Misha through the organization Transform a Street Dog. When she went missing, they posted about her on Facebook. A stranger found her and contacted the group. Then, a journalist coordinated with the group to pick Misha up and take her and several other animals to the border.

Smith’s sister Laurel lives in Bulgaria. Her husband and a friend traveled to the Ukrainian border on Saturday to collect Misha.

Laurel said she’s been “meditating” on the outpouring of kindness she has seen in the face of the war, and how each act of altruism has ripple effects.

“When you help a stranger, you’re not just helping them, you’re helping all the people that care about them,” Laurel said.

Smith also said that so many people coming together to save his dog was just one small example of the spirit inside Ukraine during the war.

“What I see in Ukraine right now is just so many people—their response to what is happening is to help others,” Smith said.

Smith will travel from Argentina to Bulgaria in about two weeks, where he will be reunited with Misha.

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