The dogs must have known something was wrong. As hours, then days passed, they must have waited by the door, listening to the town's sudden silence, wondering when their masters would return home.
In the early hours of April 27, 1986, the people of Pripyat were told to evacuate their town. Something had gone wrong at the nearby Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. People were already getting sick. They could take their important documents and food with them. Nothing more.
As nearly 50,000 of them climbed onto buses, many ended up leaving their family pets behind. It probably didn't seem like such a big deal — officials had told them they could return in just a couple of days.