The Dog who Escaped the Bolsheviks
Joy, a brown and white spaniel, was a constant companion to Tsarevich Alexei, the only son of Tsar Nicholas II, before the Imperial family were murdered by the Bolsheviks at Ipatiev House in 1918. As the Communist revolutionaries desired to leave no trace of the royal family they were also believed to have killed three of their beloved pets.
However, it has now been revealed how the execution squad took pity on one dog, Joy, and allowed him to survive. When they returned to the house eight days later they found him running around in a rather malnourished state and scarred but gun fire, but very much alive.
Joy lost his sight, would barely eat, and would seem constantly to be searching for his master. A former lady-in-waiting to Empress Alexandra was invited to examine Joy and confirm that he had indeed belonged the Alexei. She wrote: 'I went to see Joy, and he, evidently connecting me in his dog's brain with his masters, imagined that my coming announced theirs' and 'What had little Joy seen on that terrible night?… His brain had evidently kept the memory of a great shock, and his heart was broken’.
Joy was eventually re-homed with Pavel Rodzianko, a soldier in the British Army, who brought him back to England when the British were expelled from Russia. Rodzianko wrote in his book: ‘With heavy hearts we sailed away from Vladivostok. Joy, the little ill-named spaniel who had seen his master murdered, that fateful night, travelled with me. I have never seen Russia again’.
Joy was given a home at Sefton Lawn in Windsor where he lived out his life in comfort. His grave reads: ‘Here lies Joy’ and tells nothing of his extraordinary journey from Russia.
[Sources: The Siberian Times]