This poor dog was trapped under a building for three years
The residents of Khabarovsk, Russia, have been calling him "The Prisoner of Azkaban" or the "The Castle Inmate" for years. But the story behind these humorous nicknames is actually quite sad because the dog they refer to suffered in a rather bizarre way for a very long time. For some strange reason, the people of Khabarovsk came to accept the fact that there was a dog trapped in a small gap between two buildings in the city and no one thought of trying to help it. This unusual story began three years ago...
Someone obviously had tried to get rid of the dog when it was just a puppy and had thrown it into the small gap between an apartment building and a store. The puppy was so scared that it dared not come out. Residents in the area heard it yelping and whining but it didn't occur to any of them that the poor animal needed help. But they did occasionally throw food into the hole and with rainwater to drink, it managed to survive in the darkness of its concrete cave. At first it was fear that kept it from coming out of the hole, but soon the dog grew too big to fit back through the gap and was trapped. For three years it lived in complete darkness.
After nearly three years of imprisonment, animal rights activists became aware of the dog's situation and attempted to free it. But to do this they needed to tear down more of the wall and widen the gap, which required permission from the city. The activists's hands were tied as they dealt with ridiculous amounts of bureaucratic red tape. Eventually they were so angered and annoyed by this that they decided to take action without an official permit. Their justification was simple: people in the neighborhood were so fed up with the dog's whining and yelping that they were threatening to kill it — the dog was running out of time!
So, with time being of the essence, the activists grabbed their tools and got to work. To keep the damage to a minimum they only increased the gap just enough so that a very thin young woman was able to crawl into it.
This woman was able to crawl into the darkness, find the dog and attach a leash to it. The activists pulled carefully on the leash until the dog was through the gap and exposed to daylight for the very first time! It was, of course, very scared and overwhelmed, but despite being slightly traumatized, it was in generally good health. The activists were gentle with the dog and did their best to to calm it down. They spoke soothingly and renamed it "Volya", which means "freedom" in Russian.
The spokesperson for the animal rights group, Daria Stepantsova, has rescued many animals, but this dog's situation really pushed her to her limits. She remembers: "It was unbelievably tight. No room to breathe, concrete everywhere. At some points I had to fight my way forward with my bare hands. There were constantly these moments when I felt completely claustrophobic and thought I was stuck. It was so narrow that I couldn't even turn my head. My entire body was scratched up and my clothes were ruined, but in the end it was worth it!"
Daria posted some photos of her scratched body and torn clothes to give people an idea of how difficult the rescue mission was. But she maintained that she would do it all over again if she had to. She also had an interesting perspective on the situation: "Maybe now people will stop trying to feed me because they think I am too skinny," she said jokingly.
Volya's story soon made waves and was reported on local TV. This made it much easier for the activists to find the dog a new home where it will finally experience the love that it had been deprived of for so long. Let's hope that Volya lives a long and healthy life full of sunny days. Because after living in the darkness for so long, he deserves it!