As the train hurtled toward the injured dog, it appeared to the would-be rescuer that he was too late. All he could do was look on in horror. Then, just as the train was due to strike, something unbelievable happened.
The dramatic scene took place in Ukraine on Christmas Day in 2016, and the would-be rescuer, Denis Malafeyev, captured the incident on camera. Malafeyev had arrived at the train tracks near the village of Tseglovka after some friends alerted him to the dog’s plight.
According to the kind stranger’s sources, the pooch had been stranded on the railway for two whole days. And that could have been very dangerous indeed for the canine: in this part of Ukraine, it’s not unusual for temperatures to plummet below freezing in December. But, despite the temperature and trains, the dog had nevertheless managed to survive.
When Malafeyev arrived on the scene, though, it became clear that the dog on the track, a female named Lucy, was injured. Perhaps she had already been hit by a train – although no one knew for sure. But whatever had happened, it seemed as if the poor pooch couldn’t move at all.
To make matters even worse, Lucy was stuck right in the middle of the train track. This meant that the terrified dog had endured train after train passing over her head. But, luckily for her, she had a guardian angel by her side.
According to witnesses, every time a train approached, a male dog, named Panda, rushed to Lucy’s side. Just before the train was due to pass over them, moreover, the two would lower their heads to the ground. This simple act of loyalty seemed to have kept the injured pup alive for two days.
“It’s such a touching story,” Malafeyev wrote on Facebook in December 2016. “I got a phone call from a friend who said that there were two dogs lying on the railway track near Tseglovka village for two days. When we arrived, it turned out that one of the dogs, the female, was injured and couldn’t move.”
“I saw a train approaching – and felt sick,” he added. “The male dog heard the sound of the approaching train, came close to the female dog and laid down next to her. Both of them pushed their heads towards the ground and let the train pass.”
Yet, although he was desperate to help Lucy and Panda, Malafeyev found it difficult to retrieve the pair from the tracks. That was because Panda was so protective of his female friend that he wouldn’t let anyone near her. And, of course, this turned the rescue into quite a dilemma.
“Several attempts to remove the animal from the rail were in vain,” Malafeyev wrote on his Facebook page. “Because the dog strongly defended her from us.” The would-be rescuer now faced an agonizing wait as he witnessed countless trains rattle over the two animals.
But, as he watched the dogs, Malafeyev was struck by the “instinct, love, friendship [and] loyalty” that the pair displayed. “I know one thing; not all people can do that,” he continued on Facebook. He added that perhaps we could all learn something from Lucy and Panda’s bond.
“He warmed her for hours so she’s not cold and put himself in danger every time,” Malafeyev explained on the social media site. Then, after some time, the stranger was finally able to win the canines’ trust.
He then scooped Lucy up off the tracks and put her in the back of his car. However, before taking her to get checked up, there was one more thing he had to do. Naturally, due to the dogs’ bond, he had to go and collect Panda as well.
Malafeyev duly wrapped the two best friends in blankets in the trunk of his car and then transported them both to a local animal shelter. And once there, the dogs were given a full medical examination. Plus, given their heartwarming partnership, it’s likely that they will later go up for adoption together.
It’s perhaps even less surprising to hear that Lucy and Panda’s beautiful story has gone viral. Indeed, the video and images Malafeyev captured of the pair have touched hearts around the world. And certainly it’s not hard to see why.
In fact, Malafeyev’s original post on Facebook has since been shared over 71,000 times. It has also attracted more than 7,000 comments – many of them full of appreciation for Malafeyev’s heroism. “You’ve restored my faith in the goodness of man. God bless all,” read one.
“Thank you for sharing this beautiful event,” wrote another. “So glad they are safe and well back with their family. So wonderful.” One more wondered, “If dogs help each other, why can’t humans do the same?”
Meanwhile, and just four days after their rescue, Malafeyev posted another update on Lucy and Panda. And, fortunately, his video of the two dogs showed them walking and looking as healthy as ever. Indeed, neither hound appeared to show any sign of having recently escaped death.
Furthermore, it was revealed that Lucy was badly bruised but had suffered no broken bones or fractures. Malafeyev also said that the dogs’ owners had been located. “The animals are on the mend,” the proud rescuer wrote on Facebook.
But although many people have praised Malafeyev for his selfless act, he has remained modest about what he did. “It is great to think of the animals,” Malafeyev told The Dodo in December 2016. Giving credit where credit is due, he added, “This is not my heroism. It is Panda’s.”