A three-year-old child who had been lost in one of Russia’s coldest regions for 11 days and nights was kept alive by her pet dog.
Little Karina Chikitova followed her father, Rodion, as he set out on a four-day trip through the forest to visit a distant village. However, her father did not know that she was following him with her puppy in tow. Karina lost sight of him and ended up lost in the forest, which is infested with bears and wolves, with only her pet for protection.
When her father reached the distant village, her mother was able to speak to him on the phone only to discover that Karina was not with him. It was then that they realised that their daughter was missing. At that point, the authorities began hunting for her.
Nine days after she went missing, her puppy returned to the family home in the village of Olom. Her parents were distraught at seeing the dog and felt sure she would die, but it turned out to be the turning point in the little girl’s recovery.
Her dog led rescuers directly to her, and she was found the huddled in long grass. She had been drinking river water and eating berries to stay alive.
As well as going for help, it is clear that the dog helped her to stay warm. At night, the temperature fell to 6C. The fact the little girl was staying in long grass combined with the warmth from her puppy protected her from the elements.
When she was found, she weighed less than 10kg, but was conscious and speaking. The Russian press has not named her heroic puppy.