This story is almost half a century old. In 1974, at the Vnukovo airport, the owner of Alma could not persuade the staff to take the dog onboard without a certificate. Due to eye damage, the Eastern European Shepherd Dog did not pass vet control.
The owner was the last to board, and before that, he took off the collar and said goodbye to his pet for a long time. The mighty IL-18 liner carried a man to the north. The dog ran for a long time on the runway, trying to catch up with him. She did not accept the loss, did not leave the airport. Neither the people who tried to catch her nor the local dog pack that tore up the newcomer forced Alma to leave her post. Gradually, they got used to the dog. The port service began to feed and protect the shepherd dog.
She still did not trust people, hiding at the slightest danger, and still saw off every plane. This went on for two years until the pilot saw the dog running after the plane from the cockpit of the plane. Vyacheslav Valentey contacted the dispatcher, with a request to remove the dog from the runway, for her safety.
They explained to him that it was useless, Alma was looking for the owner and did not let anyone get close. After that, the pilot often saw a shepherd dog, who met each plane with hope.
Vyacheslav Alexandrovich went through the war, was a prisoner of Dachau and the camps — he knew what grief was and saw it in the dog’s eyes. He went to the editorial office of Komsomolskaya Pravda and asked to write that Alma was still waiting. That every commander will take it on board if only there is an owner.
After the article by Yuri Rost, thousands of people from all over the USSR wanted to take part in the fate of the shepherd dog. And in Norilsk, the pilot was overtaken by an anonymous letter. Its author, the owner of a shepherd dog, did not consider himself entitled to be the owner and was afraid of condemnation of his betrayal.
And yet the faithful Alma was destined to meet an equally devoted and selfless friendship. Vera Kotlyarevskaya, a descendant of the Ukrainian classic, left her job in Kyiv and spent several weeks in Vnukovo. She patiently and carefully tamed the shepherd, spent all her time with her. Knowing that Alma would not leave her post of her own free will, she was given a sleeping pill. The dog was getting used to the new environment with difficulty. But here she was expected, she was welcome.
People tried to speak softly, and the doors were always open so that Alma did not feel like a prisoner. The woman realized that the dog had accepted the family when she saw how gently the dog touched her sleeping daughter. Soon the shepherd became a mother herself and no longer tried to leave “her” people.
This story inspired the creators of two films. “On a leash at the runway” was released back in 1988, and in March of this year, the premiere of the Russian film “Palm” took place.