May 27, 2022

To Russia with Love: Some Hope in the Darkness with Debbie Deegan | The Long Leash #49

To Russia with Love: Some Hope in the Darkness with Debbie Deegan | The Long Leash #49

An 86-year-old grandma left her beloved dog behind in Ukraine as she fled the war. Debbie Deegan reunited them.


The war is reaching far beyond Ukraine's borders. Fear and loss can be felt across continents and oceans. But what can also be felt is the incredible resiliency and determination of the Ukrainian people and those who want to help.

One helper is Irish mom Debbie Deegan. She is no stranger to Russia, having traveled there over 500 times in the past 25 years. Her non-profit To Russia with Love (later renamed To Children with Love) worked to help improve the lives of Russian orphans. She even received Russia’s highest commendation for foreign nationals for her work and dined with Vladimir Putin as an esteemed guest.

On today’s show, Debbie tells us how she and her team transformed the lives of Russian children, the challenges of winning the trust of the locals, building self-confidence in the children, and teaching how to nurture.

By chance, Debbie closed her non-profit mere days before the war in Ukraine began. But it turned out that her work on behalf of children wasn’t complete. When she heard about a fleeing Ukrainian family that was forced to leave their dog, Debbie jumped to help reunite 86-year-old Granny with her beloved fur-kid, Tasha.

Whether it's helping orphans or reuniting an elderly grandma refugee with her beloved dog, Debbie’s compassion and pragmatic, action-oriented nature is inspiring … and an excellent role model for dog lovers in any nation.

About Debbie Deegan

Debbie is the Founder and CEO of To Children With Love. She has been working tirelessly in Russia since 1998 with the orphaned and abandoned children of the Bryansk Region. What started off as one woman’s promise to a child that she would come back to hug and kiss them has grown into a successful charity, doing life-changing work with thousands of orphaned and abandoned children across the Russian Federation. 

In 2018 Debbie received the highest honor in Russia when she was given the Order of Friendship Award by President Vladimir Putin at a special ceremony in the Kremlin. 

Debbie has a Diploma in Child Psychology, has studied Life Coaching and has taken many personal development courses during her years running the charity. She does not feel it is necessary to have letters after your name to make a huge difference in this world. Passion, combined with hard work, is her personal motto. 

Debbie Deegan’s website: https://www.debbie-deegan.com/

Debbie’s blog: https://www.debbie-deegan.com/blog-2

Video of Tasha and Granny reunion: twitter ruinion

About The Long Leash

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