As the train raced toward them, the dogs didn’t move an inch. When I saw why, it broke my heart.

On Christmas day near the Ukrainian city of Uzhgorod, animal rights activist Denis Malafeyev got a phone call that two dogs had been spotted on the train tracks outside of town. One of them appeared to be injured and needed rescuing.

When Denis first arrived at the scene, he wasn’t able to approach the injured dog because she was being protected by the second, healthy dog who barked loudly and even snapped at Denis as he came too close. As it turned out, the dog wasn’t just protecting his companion from approaching strangers, but also from approaching trains! Having been unable to remove the dogs from the track, Denis filmed this remarkable video:

Posted by Денис Малафеев on Sunday, December 25, 2016

The healthy dog lay beside the injured one and they both stayed low to the ground so that the speeding train rushed over them. According to neighbors, this scene had played out multiple times over the last two days. A passionate animal-lover, Denis was profoundly disturbed by what he had seen and he was determined to move these two to safety.

An experienced and patient animal rescuer, that’s exactly what he did. The two dogs were brought to a vet where the injured one was treated. When Denis posted about what had happened on Facebook, something truly amazing happened. The dogs’ owner recognized them! Apparently, someone had left the gate open and the dogs had gotten out. He had been looking for the dogs and was overjoyed to be reunited with them.

Denis learned that the injured dog was named Lucy. Her brother and protector, Panda, had been keeping watch over her the whole time they were missing. He kept her warm with his body heat and never left her side. Panda and Lucy are now safe back at home. Lucy is lucky to have a brother as caring and brave as Panda!

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