Vladimir is a Half-Vistani Monster Hunter Ranger. After spending his early life living with his mother in the town of Barovia, Vlad ran off and joined Argyle Wellington's Wonderarium of Confounding Curiosities as a scout.
What happened to your first pet? It was a hunting dog named Illya. During a hunting trip, both Vlad and Illya thought he hit something. Illya ran off to retrieve it and never returned.
Before he disappeared, Illya saved your life. What did he safe you from? A harsh winter. After an unsuccessful hunting trip to prepare for the winter, Vlad was able to shoot a deer, but it fell into a fast moving river. Illya pulled it out and they were able to eat for the winter, though sparingly.
There was a night after Illya disappeared that you thought you saw him. What happened? While walking through a new town, Illya happened across a breeder selling similar dogs. One looked, initially, identical to Illya, but Vlad was mistaken.