Looking for love and warmth in Ufa

by Elena Nureeva & Taran Dhillon

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Elena’s dog Tosha and Sunset in Ufa, Russia ( Photo credits: Elena Nureeva)

The city of Ufa lies 14 time zones away from Vancouver and almost 1,200 kilometers east of Moscow, in the Ural Mountains. There are many dimensions to this Russian city of more than one million souls. Contrary to quite pleasant summers, it can be extremely cold and windy during winters with mercury dipping to 20 degrees below zero.

We Russians don’t celebrate Christmas as much as people do in West, but we have a special thing for New Year’s eve. From our childhood days, we are made to believe in New Year miracles. This is not a story of a miracle yet it occurred on the New year’s eve.

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Tosha in sentry mood (pic credits: Elena Nureeva)

On the first day of 2020, I took out my dog for an early morning walk. It was a pleasant day so we walked a bit further from home and arrived on the outskirts of the town. As we entered the forest that surrounds our city, we had an acquaintance with a man with his dog. *By the way, did I mention that I love dogs? I believe that they are the best creatures on planet.

One does not have to initiate conversation when two dog owners cross each other’s path. It just happens!

His dog was one year old female that he adopted from the dog shelter three weeks ago. While I was petting her, he curiously asked questions about dog-care . “How to train them? What to feed them and how often? Do they bark when hungry or need to pee or poo?” It was easy to tell that he was a new pet owner.

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Elena and Tosha in playful mood (Photo credits: Elena Nureeva)

She was rubbing her collar against my hand often. I noticed that her collar was tied too tight. With the owner’s permission, I loosened it a bit. I hope it made her feel better. After a small talk we said goodbye to each other and we headed back home. Oops! I forgot to ask the dog’s name. Maybe, next time?

A few hours later, I noticed the same little-dog outside our home. But this time, she was alone. She just sat outside and stayed put in-front of the door. She sure was an attention grabber. When she didn’t leave for the next hour, I decided to walk her back to her home. When we reached there, the door was closed. When no one replied to the door bell, I shouted. I noticed a car behind the window. There was a note and a phone number written on it’s window. I tried calling but no one replied.

I was angry now! We walked back to my place with her following me. Unfortunately, I could not let the dog into my house as my parents did not appreciate the idea. She had to spend all night outside my house, sitting there alone. I tried calling that number the next day but it was still unattended. Makes me wonder why do people buy cellphones when they cannot attend a call!

Finally got some luck and he picked the call. He seemed not worried about the dog at all and promised to take her back soon. Everything seemed fine for a day and then she returned, again. This repeated at least three times and the last time he did not even come to pick her.…even though he promised to. My heart sank.

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Cold and windy night in Ufa, Russia (Photo credits: Elena Nureeva)

The last time I saw her was in the evening, near the old park. I do not know where she is and how she is. I hope she is somewhere safe, looking for love and warmth.

Written by

I am a Journalist, engineer & librarian interested in geopolitics,the Arctic, motorcycles, travel, and short stories. Get in touch on IG@dhillon1704

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