Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.
-Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister
Traveling with a dog in Ukraine was easier than I predicted, but with its own set of challenges. Fortunately, it was possible to travel across the country by rail, it was relatively easy to find dog-friendly apartments, and most restaurants welcomed Mango, three of my top traveling-with-Mango concerns.
Lviv seemed much more pet-friendly than Kiev, and I didn't see any/many stray dogs except for the ones at Chernobyl. Going to restaurants and cafes with Mango was hit or miss, as I don't think it's very common to go out with dogs in Ukraine; Mango was welcome at many places and at Spotykach in Kiev, he received better service than I did. Using public transit with Mango was okay: Kiev's metro didn't allow dogs, but the funicular did; Lviv's trams and buses, including the one that goes directly to the airport, were dog-friendly; trains allowed dogs under the condition that owners purchase tickets for an entire sleeping compartment or section of seats (fortunately, I could see seating availability and purchase tickets online... and ticket prices were fairly low). Taxi drivers were all very nice about Mango, and so were (thankfully) hostels in a pinch. For the Chernobyl tour, I inquired if dogs were allowed (hey, it doesn't hurt to ask), but was told no, so I asked my kind host to watch him so that I didn't have to leave him at the kennel I found online that looked like a Russian prison for hard criminals. (Shh, don't tell Mango I actually considered that kennel.)
Flying in & out of Ukraine
Before going to Ukraine, I made sure to get a titer test for Mango, to prove he has enough rabies antibodies in his system for when we return to the EU or other rabies-free countries. (Ukraine is considered to be a high-rabies country for animals, something to consider when traveling with a dog.) We had no problem flying into Kiev, but getting out was trickier. When we were ready to leave Lviv via air, I went to a local vet to get a health certificate for Mango to travel and was sent to the Lviv Regional State Veterinary Hospital (tram accessible, phew). There, in exchange for $2.00, I was given a completed form to take to airport customs the day before my flight, a day early because my flight left before the customs office opened. The vet looked at Mango's titer test results, but I wonder if he would have cared if I didn't offer it. When I got the airport and presented my form to customs, the gentleman quickly reviewed it before telling me this was all unnecessary since I was just a tourist traveling with my dog. Whatever, I told him, just take my $8 and let's finish this pain-in-the-ass, does-anyone-speak-English-in-this-country, WTF-am-I-doing-anyway process so I can get on with my life. And of course, when I checked in to my flight and paid the $110 to the airline for Mango's first class seat in the cargo hold, nobody even bothered to look at the customs papers, not even when I shoved them under their noses. When my 6:00 AM flight the next day was cancelled without warning and I was doing my best to hold it together emotionally, returning the next day at 6:00 AM for the only available flight, it reminded me 1) to avoid flying in the future and 2) get permission from my doctor to travel with Mango as an emotional support animal, as it's no secret that I qualify, and it would save me a ton of money, time, and stress. Slow inhale in, slow inhale out...