A 3-year-old girl owes her salvation to a dog after her puppy saved the girl from an almost certain death in the wilderness. Karina Chikitova is a miracle. This child of three years and seven months survived a stay of 11 days in one of the most hostile regions in the world, the Siberian taiga. As explained in an Aug. 14 Huffington Post report, the girl, who had been missing since July 29, has been found safe and sound after spending eleven days alone in the forest, the Siberian Times first reported on Monday, Aug. 11. This story is definitely a miracle given the fact that the region, located in the northeast of Russia, is infested with wolves and bears and temperatures average around 6 °C at this time of the year.
Fortunately, the girl, who got lost in the tall grass trying to follow her father, was accompanied by her dog. The little girl and her dog had left her tiny village in Russia’s Sakha region in search of her father, who had left for a nearby village and was unaware his daughter was following him. With no mobile phone signal in the sparsely populated region where native Yakut people live from hunting and reindeer herding, her mother only realized after four days that her daughter had set off on her own into the wild, News.com.au wrote.
During her stay in the wilderness, she was able to snuggle up against the animal to fight against the cold temperatures. Karina also survived by eating wild berries and hydrating with river water, reports the Siberian Times.
Search unsuccessful for nine days
A search team was immediately set up and for nine days, a hundred people accompanied by hunters and soldiers combed the area where bears and wolves roam. Helicopters and drones flew over the area but since the girl had made a bed in the tall grass, which is common in the region during the summer, her presence remained undetectable.
During the ninth day of the search for the girl, the puppy returned to her parents home. Rescue teams and the girl's parents were losing hope of finding little Karina alive and the fact that her little dog reappeared at the family home was a bad sign.
"We were sure that the puppy was next to the little girl all this time, warming her at night and scaring away wild animals,” rescuer Afanasiy Nikolayev told the Zvezda TV channel. "When the dog came back “we thought this is it” for Karina, as temperatures in the area had already dropped below freezing at night," he said.
But to everyone's surprise, the dog showed them the path that led to the child and the next morning, 11 days after her disappearance, Karina was found after rescuers noticed the traces of her bare feet on the soil.
They found the girl emaciated, but not suffering from apparent psychological trauma. The girl was hospitalized in Yakutsk, where she is regaining strength. She has no major injuries except scratches and many insect bites.
The animal world surprises us every day. Sometimes it does with images of tenderness, at other times with incredible acts of human solidarity. It was what also saved Julia, a 3-year-old Polish girl, who went missing from her home in March of last year and survived the freezing temperatures of southwest Poland by the side of Czarek, a dog who accompanied her for hours until she was found and returned to her parents.
For the whole night the animal was with the girl, it never left her. Rescuers told the BBC that the animal was the most important factor in the girl's survival.