Novichok poisoning victim Yulia Skripal secretly called kennels in Russia regularly to check on the wellbeing of her dog.
And the Mirror can reveal that her beloved pet – called Nuar – has now been adopted after Yulia finally realised they would never be reunited.
Last week was the third anniversary of the Salisbury poisoning plot in which Yulia and her dad Sergei, a former spy, were the subject of an assassination attempt by Russian agents.
She called kennel owner Artuan Bardadim from untraceable numbers in the UK as she was recovering in hospital and at a secret safehouse.
He said: “Yulia often called and asked about Nuar and his health.
“I was always surprised as the media described her being in a ‘helpless condition’ in Britain, and she was calling me to ask how her dog was.
“In these moments she didn’t sound sick.
“I believe it’s not fake what happened to them – her and her father.
“But when she called – she sounded OK.
“But because of her circumstances, when she was unable to come and see the dog in person, to take care of him, she asked us to sort out his future.”
Yulia, 36, had left Nuar in kennels in Russia when she visited her 69-year-old dad who was living in the UK.
But she was never to return to pick him up after they were left fighting for their lives when his front door handle in Salisbury was smeared with nerve agent novichok.
In the time since it is thought Yulia has not even been able to contact her grandmother and other relatives.
Three months after the attack, Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell ill at a flat and died.
It emerged that she had sprayed a discarded perfume bottle used to contain the agent.
Mr Bardadim, 52, owner of the Khors kennel 40 miles from Moscow said when the calls from Yulia started he was concerned he was being tricked.
He said: “When she called, I was forced to ask her leading questions to understand if it really was Yulia Skripal who was calling me.
“First of all she called me from another number.
“Second, her voice slightly changed due to her illness. and I just wanted to make sure it was her – especially when she asked me to take some actions to look after the dog.”
He explained how the rehoming of Nuar finally took place.
He said: “It was Yulia’s wish to find a good family for him to provide a decent life.
“Yulia even called after the adoption to check on the dog.”
To add to the mystery he said: “The dog was under a different name in the kennel – he had a dual name.
“He got used to another one and was adopted under this second name, not Nuar.”