Tuesday, 16. September 2014
14. 08. 14. - 17:00
These are the first pictures of the puppy that saved the life of a three-year-old girl who survived 11 days and nights on her own in the Siberian wilderness.
Every night the youngster had cuddled up to the pet dog, Kyrachaan, which emergency services believe had carefully chosen a safe place to sleep in a region that is infested with wild bears and wolves. But the secure nests mostly in long grass that the dog helped to find apparently also made it very difficult for rescuers to find her.
And although pictures of Karina Chikitova from rescue services quickly went round the world, these are the first snaps of her dog had kept her warm at night and helped to find water during the day for an incredible 11 days before she was found.
The Sakha region is known as the coldest in Siberia and even at this time of year in the height of summer the night time temperatures are rarely above around six degrees centigrade.
The youngster who had not taken any food with her when she wandered off and got lost had reportedly recognised berries from trips in the woods with her grandmother and had eaten some food, but was still extremely thin and weighed just 10 kilos when she was finally found.
Amazingly she was missing for 4 days before anyone realised she was gone because of a mix-up between her parents and her grandmother over who was caring for her. Emergency services said that the parents had asked the gran to care for the child, but she had mistakenly thought that her son Rodion had taken the girl with him when he went off to a remote region where he was involved in a firefighting operation.
He had left on 29th of July but the girl's mother was unable to check the story until 2 August because the mobile phone reception where her husband was working was almost non-existent. Therefore it was several days before the family realised that actually nobody had her at all. The rescue operation itself only started in earnest on third of August.
Rescuers even came across several bears before finally finding the child, covered in mosquito bites and with scratches to her feet, but otherwise conscious and able to talk.
She remembered all the details of her ordeal including the fact that her dog Kyrachaan, which means little one in the local language, had looked after her.
She had followed after her father when she saw him leaving but got lost, and when rescuers realised that the dog was also missing they carried on the operation long after they would otherwise have given up hope of finding her alive. The hope which proved correct was that the animal might have helped her to survive the cold nights.
The ordeal for her family however is not over after social workers confirmed they were investigating them for neglect in failing to report the child disappearance in the first 4 days.
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