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GENIUSES AND ANIMALS: extraordinary stories of friendship between Konstantin Paustovsky, Georgy Vitsin, Ivan Franko with pets

GENIUSES AND ANIMALS: extraordinary stories of friendship between Konstantin Paustovsky, Georgy Vitsin, Ivan Franko with pets
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Photo: Konstantin Paustovsky, Georgy Vitsin, Ivan Franko


Famous people also have animals. Stories about the pets of great people are a good opportunity to learn more about your favorite idols, open up their work in a new way and make conclusions about them as people. Sometimes the most unexpected. We have chosen such stories – about the most extraordinary relationships between great people and animals.




Soviet writer Konstantin Paustovsky spent important periods of his life in Ukraine. He graduated from the Faculty of History and Philology of Kiev University, lived in the Crimea and Odessa.

Actually, in Odessa, for the first time, he found himself among young writers – he met Kataev, Ilf, Babel and others. “In Odessa, I lived near the sea and wrote a lot, but had not been published yet, believing that I had not achieved the ability to master any material and genre,” noted Paustovsky.

In Odessa, his constant companion was a cat. It is not known whether the writer brought him to Moscow, but the critic and literary critic, the author of books devoted to the works of Russian writers of the 20th century, Benedict Sarnov in the book Stop being surprised! Not-Invented Stories mentioned an interesting case involving a pet.

Once Sarnov communicated with the Paustovsky couple. The writer’s wife, Tatyana Alekseevna, talked about her husband, his manner of writing.

“If the cat jumps onto his desk and lies down on the manuscript he’s currently working on, Konstantin Georgievich calmly continues to write, arranging the lines of the story he’s composing so that they flow around the animal’s body, without interfering the cat to enjoy the warmth of the desk lamp.

But then the moment comes when the part of the paper sheet that is not occupied by the body of the cat is already filled in and it is necessary to start a new one. The situation becomes hopeless, and then the writer, having the desire to continue the creative process, shouts: “Tanya! Chase the cat away!” wrote Benedict Sarnov from the words of the writer’s wife.

When the literary critic asked Konstantin Paustovsky whether it was a real case and why he himself did not chase away the pet, the writer was very surprised: “Why should I spoil my relationship with my cat?”


GENIUSES AND ANIMALS: extraordinary stories of friendship between Konstantin Paustovsky, Georgy Vitsin, Ivan Franko with pets
Photo: Konstantin Paustovsky and his cat /




After his death, a flock of pigeons circled over the entrance of the house on the Arbat for a long time. Georgy Vitsin every day left the house with a loaf of bread or millet for the birds, fed them generously and went to the nearest shop for another loaf. He also had bones for stray dogs, and small money for beggars, although the genius in the early 90s sometimes did not have enough for food. By the way, the sellers of the Smolensk grocery store left him meat scraps for animals – they loved him very much as an artist.

Georgy Vitsin made his bright debut in the film The Reserve Player, he is known for his humorous characters in stellar television comedies and for his love of improvisation. But he was also considered a good sculptor and cartoonist. And if not for that bright debut at Lenfilm, perhaps he would have had enough time to reveal his other talents.

Vitsin was an unusually sincere person, immersed in himself. By the way, he was expelled from the Maly Theater School with the wording “for a frivolous attitude to the educational process”.

He often went “behind the garages” to feed the mongrels. He always took very sick dogs home for overexposure and care. Once, in his 80s, he noticed a heavy breathing emaciated dog on the hatch of the heating main. Without thinking twice, he took this dog home, gave him a nickname – Boy. The dog experienced so many bad things in his life that for a very long time he was aggressive and distrustful of people. But the care of Georgy Vitsin warmed this heart too.

When someone called Vitsin, the spouse often picked up the phone. “Don’t bother Gosha, a dog is sleeping on him,” she said sternly. “He is very afraid to disturb the dog. It’s a mongrel. It endured so much. Let the dog sleep!”

Cats, parrots, dogs and even a ladybug lived in the Vitsins’ apartment. The beetle caught by the actor from a puddle lived in their house for three whole years. But especially Georgy Vitsin became attached to the Boy.

“Dogs are like medicine: they heal, save people, strengthen the nervous system. After eighty, everyone should have a dog. It will save you,” he said shortly before his death.


GENIUSES AND ANIMALS: extraordinary stories of friendship between Konstantin Paustovsky, Georgy Vitsin, Ivan Franko with pets




Writer, publicist, translator and public figure Ivan Franko was a very enthusiastic and busy person. He wrote the story Zakhar Berkut and the hymn The Eternal Revolutionary, knew the whole Kobzar by heart, read a lot and translated the works of ancient authors, in particular Sophocles and Euripides. He is called “The Great Stone” and is quoted all over the world.

Franco was a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature – he was nominated by Professor and Doctor of Philosophy from Vienna Joseph Zastyrets. It is believed that the notification about this came too late, when the list of nominees had already been approved. Franco did not become a laureate.

The Ukrainian genius loved to ride a bicycle, and from such short walks he often brought animals home. One day a stork with a broken wing got into his house.

Once an accidental guest in his house found a strange picture: a white bird with a tied wing hobbled on the carpets in Franco’s living room, frogs jumped on the floor, which had been caught by the neighbors’ boys (to feed the stork!), a turtle crawled out from under the sofa, and in the corner rooms the guinea pigs began their mating games. And he hadn’t seen the rabbits in the basement yet!

Ivan Franko was very fond of animals, and even set up a homemade veterinary clinic at home to treat them. His neighbor – statesman Mikhail Grushevsky – repeatedly complained to the writer about his ill-mannered pets – dogs. They with their barking often did not let the whole district sleep. But in conflicts with neighbors, even the most eminent ones, Ivan Franko always chose pets.


GENIUSES AND ANIMALS: extraordinary stories of friendship between Konstantin Paustovsky, Georgy Vitsin, Ivan Franko with pets


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