Denis Malafeyev felt his heart sink as soon as he saw the train approach. On the railroad tracks was an injured dog, unable to move. Denis prepared himself for the worst, but then something incredible happened. This dog appeared to have an angel looking out for it, and their story stole the hearts of people all over the Internet.
Denis is a man from the Ukraine who lives near the village of Tseglovka. Denis is well-known for his love of animals, and often times people seek him out when there is an animal in need of help. Denis received a phone call in December of 2016, from a friend that informed him that there were two dogs stranded on railroad tracks for two days. He immediately checked it out.
In this part of Ukraine, it’s typical winter weather for the temperature to drop below freezing. If he wanted the dogs to survive, Denis would have to act quickly. As he approached the dogs, Denis quickly realized that the female dog was injured and she couldn’t move. But as soon as he tried to help, Denis was given a surprising obstacle.
The other dog, presumably her brother, was exceptionally protective of the injured dog. Denis tried to move towards the female, but he was met with growls and teeth every time. Even though Denis had the best of intentions, the protective dog didn’t know that, and he wasn’t taking any chances. The dog was vigilant in guarding his sister, but Denis wasn’t giving up that easily.
Denis removed himself from the tracks, but he wasn’t leaving. He patiently sat still, watching the dogs. Then, Denis heard the worst possible sound: a train was heading their way. He immediately turned towards the dogs, and the male dog rushed to his sister’s side. He laid down beside her, and as the train got closer, the dogs put their heads to the ground. Denis couldn’t believe it.
Soon the train had passed and Denis was grateful that they were safe. Denis realized that the protective dog was the only reason why the injured one was alive. Every time the train approached, he would rush to her side to keep her safe and calm. It’s safe to assume that he was finding food for her, too. Denis was touched by the “instinct, love, friendship [and] loyalty” these siblings shared. He became set on making them safe.
In attempts to gain the brother’s trust, Denis tried giving him treats. It didn’t work at first because the male just wanted to stay by his sister, keeping her warm. The dog soon realized that Denis wasn’t going anywhere, so he began to calm down. After hours of waiting, Denis was finally allowed to touch the injured female.
Even though he still wasn’t sure about Denis, he let him get closer to his sister. She was too tired to move, let alone growl at Denis. In case she had broken bones, Denis knew that moving her wasn’t the best idea because he could make her injuries worse. He stayed with her as he tried to think of what to do next.
Denis went to grab some blankets from his car. Once he got back to the tracks, Denis wrapped the female up in the blankets as tightly as possible. Hoping that her brother would not freak out, Denis gently scooped the female off of the tracks. When he returned to the car, he put her in his trunk, but he wasn’t done yet.
The brother didn’t seem to be injured, but Denis knew that he needed his help, as well. With treats on hand, Denis bribed the dog to jump into the back seat with his sister. Denis covered them both up with blankets and left the railroad tracks. He immediately brought them to the local shelter. He hoped that the female’s injuries weren’t too extensive.
While they were at the shelter, both of the dogs received full medical exams. It was a miracle, but the dog didn’t have any broken bones. But she did have lots of bruising and was in shock after being stuck for two days. It wouldn’t be long before the dogs would have to find a home. Denis just hoped they could stay together. His story exploded as soon as he shared it on Facebook.
Denis’ heartwarming story about rescuing the two incredibly loyal dogs was shared on Facebook over 71,000 times and it received more than 7,000 comments from people all over the world. Denis was applauded for his compassion and people began asking why it was so hard for humans to do something that came so easily to dogs. A few days later, something unbelievable happened.
Four days after the dogs were rescued by Denis, the shelter was able to locate the family the dogs belonged to, and they had been looking for them desperately. Denis was finally able to place a name with the dogs he saved: Panda and Lucy. Denis knew that it was time for him to say goodbye.
Denis posted a video online of Panda and Lucy leaving the shelter, feeling happy and healthy. They had finally been reunited with their family and Denis was grateful to see them recovering from the undeniable trauma. The dog’s family and online commenters began calling Denis a hero, but he didn’t think so.
The Dodo interviewed Denis soon after their story went viral. He continued to say that he just loved animals and didn’t want praise for his act of kindness. “This is not my heroism. It is Panda’s,” explained Denis. We agree with him on that, but if it wasn’t for Denis, this story might not have such a happy ending.