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Puppy saves girl: Siberian girl, 3, saved by puppy, survives 11 days in taiga

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A puppy saves a girl in the Siberian wilderness, and the miraculous story of a loyal puppy saving a three-year-old girl in Siberia for 11 days is making worldwide headline news this week. Karina Chikitova is recovering in a hospital in Yakutsk in the remote Sakha Republic in Siberia, reports the Canada Journal News of the World on Aug. 13. "The girl aged three years and seven months survived by eating wild berries and drinking river water in territory roamed by wild bears and wolves," reports the Siberian Times.

At the time of her rescue, Karina was fully conscious, but the rescuer who carried her to a car said that was” as light as a bird,” and that the little three-year-old girl weighed hardly 10 kilograms (22 pounds). Despite having spent 11 days in the Siberian wilderness among bears and wolves, Karina showed no signs of having been harmed except mosquito and other insect bites, and scratches on her feet for having gone barefoot after losing her shoes.

The rescue group who was frantically searching for Karina in the Siberian wilderness found the little girl – thanks to her loyal puppy – huddled in tall grass. She had survived 11 days in the wilderness surrounded by bears and wolves by drinking water from a river, eating berries, and being protected from near-freezing temperatures by the warmth of her puppy who had stayed with her for nine days – until it ran off to get help.

On July 29, Karina wandered away from her home because she had wanted to follow her father who had left their home to go to his native village. Karina’s mom thought that her daughter and her puppy had indeed gone with her father and was not worried until she discovered four days later that Karina’s dad had no knowledge of their daughter’s whereabouts.

The remote part of Siberia where Karina lives has plenty of bears and wolves and very few phone connections. Upon the discovery that the three-year-old girl was not with her dad, a search team of about 100 people went looking for her. Because of the tall grass dominating the region, a search by air was in vain. The only hope that rescuers and the little girl’s parents had was the fact that her puppy had disappeared along with her.

After nine days of a frantic search, Karina’s parents’ heart broke when the puppy returned without their little girl. As long as the puppy was with their daughter, they had believed that there was a chance that the dog would keep the little girl warm and be able to protect her. Without the pup, Karina’s chance of survival in the already freezing temperatures was slim.

According to Afanasiy Nikolayev, a spokesman for the Sakha Republic Rescue Service, Karina’s parents were devastated when the puppy returned home alone to the little girl's village of Olom in the Olyokminsky district after nine days. “That was the moment when our hearts sank, because we thought at least with her dog Karina had chances to survive - night in Yakutia are cold and some areas have already gone into minus temperatures. If she was to hug her puppy, we thought, this would have given her a chance to stay warm during nights and survive. So when her dog came back we thought 'that's it - even if she was alive - and chances were slim - now she would have definitely have lost all hopes. Our hearts truly and deeply sank.”

Quickly, the rescuers understood that the puppy had not abandoned the girl, but that it had returned to save her. The puppy showed the rescuers the way into the Siberian taiga where they found Karina the next morning—11 days after she had disappeared. Despite its heroic deed, the puppy’s name has not been revealed. And as for Karina, “she doesn't want to speak about the time she spent in taiga, or not yet. The only thing she said that she was eating berries and drank water from rivers.”

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