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A Christmas Story… dedicated to Traian Otvos

If there ever was a year where I have experienced the absolute worst and best of mankind, this would be the one, 2022!

Normally, this time of year I would share the story and legacy of Y-Knot-Creations. This Christmas I can do even better, and tell you a story about compassion and Godwinks during my second trip to Romania.

This would have never been happening, were it not for the brave action of a very special person, a man I am humbled to call my friend, Traian Otvos.

One day, the caretaker of the APAI shelter in Romania, Traian, was on his way to work.

He noticed a commotion, and discovered 2 men in the midst of dragging, strangling and hanging a dog with a hay bale wire.

I cannot even imagine how brave my friend had to be to fend off these two monsters, and the courage it took, risking his own life.

His love for animals is beyond anything I have ever seen, and the little money he makes, he will devote to them in spite of him living literally on the bare necessities.

After saving this dog, who he named Rexy, Traian wrapped him in a blanket and carried him to the shelter.

What happened then in detail, you can read in Rexy’s story on our news and press page.

Rexy’s ultimate rescue and becoming part of our family required a second trip, and my return to Romania.

I had promised Rexy to come back for him, whatever that took.

With the promise to move heaven and earth, bringing Rexy to the US, I started planning immediately, even during my return travel from the original visit.
I had 3 and a half weeks to plan all this, with many hurdles to overcome and what happened next is heartwarming and I wish to share it with you, this Christmas.

After driving to Minneapolis from Rapid City, I flew on Condor airlines to Frankfurt, with a connection to Bucharest and then onward to Timisoara. I know from personal experience that 2 hours of connecting time is actually not enough, but unfortunately that was all that was available. Surely I planned for something to go wrong, and still have a little wiggle room for the travel not to fall apart entirely. If I had had to resort to the famous plan B, it would have made things a lot more complicated though.

I really had to make that flight to Bucharest and here is what happened:

Upon waiting in the check in line in MSP, a Condor representative, Jack couldn’t have been more helpful, confirming my return travel with a dog and where I would retrieve him. This already was a great start, knowing what to expect.

Once in Frankfurt, Germany going thru immigrations, baggage claim and to another terminal to connect onto Tarom Airlines took enormously longer than anticipated, it was evident I would miss that flight.

When I arrived at Terminal 2 I ran with my 2 heavy bags to the information counter.

I had 15 minutes to flight departure and yet to go thru passport control and security.

The check in counter in the departure hall for Tarom was already closed, and things looked more than bleak.

Was it not for the man at the information desk who said: Try anyway .. it is now or never.

Huffing and puffing with my 2 heavy bags of shelter supplies I managed to run up the escalator to passport control.

Was it not then for every person in line to let me up front and a compassionate immigration officer to check my documents quickly and let me pass. Everyone in line was rooting for me.
Now there was still the very long corridor to gate E6, which seemed eternal!

I nearly collapsed with exhaustion and begged a stranger who recruited another young man to help carry my bags to the gate.

Once there, I still had to clear security and sure enough, each and every security personnel helped me make the flight, even carrying my bags to the counter.

The flight was just about to be closed by the agent and he contacted the captain who said he would hold the plane.

Once onboard, my face was as red as a lobster and the flight attendant poured me a glass of water and told me to get my breath.

Making this flight was truly a miracle and looking back, I often remember this day with a smile.

(Especially on days where I run into nasties that seem to be everywhere!!)

Literally EVER PERSON INVOLVED stopped everything they were doing to help me that day.

I have never experienced anything like it. It was truly something you would only see in a movie.

Consequently my journey onward got me to Romania on time and the travel “dominos” where still intact.

On the way home with Rexy, HELP was everywhere as well and so many people were eager to lend assistance.

Rexy was brave and calm. He was absolutely sweet and did his part to make this journey as easy as possible.

We drove from Romania, via Hungary and Austria to Germany.

Prior to departure in Frankfurt, the captain of the flight went to the tarmac to ensure Rexy was loaded. Additionally a ground staff crew member, took a photo on his phone and came onto the aircraft to show me Rexy was settled in his kennel with plenty of water, that was replenished.

Now, that Rexy is laying beside me, snoozing away, I look at him and remember a day with many obstacles, made perfect by the helping hearts and the compassion of a bunch of strangers and the believe there is still a lot of good in many people out there.
Merry Christmas!