Karina Chikitova is three and a half years old, and after 11 days of being lost in the Siberian wilderness with only her puppy, Kyrachaan, at her side, she was rescued.
The little girl wandered away from her home in a remote village in the far reaches of eastern Russia, and because of miscommunication among family members, she wasn’t discovered to be missing until days later, The Siberian Times reports.
Her parents thought she was with her grandmother while they spent a few days haymaking in a remote field, but Karina’s dad returned briefly on July 29 before heading off to be a volunteer firefighter. The child wandered off, and her grandmother thought she had gone with her father. A lack of telecommunications meant Karina wasn’t discovered missing until Aug. 2, when her mother returned to the grandmother’s house.
During that time, Karina had Kyrachaan to keep her company, snuggling the puppy to stay warm at night when temperatures dropped to freezing. During the day, she ate wild berries and drank river water to stay alive.
After they’d been missing for nine days, Kyrachaan came back to Karina’s home—crushing the hearts of her parents, who thought she wouldnt’ be able to survive without him. There are conflicting reports, the Times says, but Russian television reported that the dog then led rescuers to the girl, who was a little more than three and a half miles from home.
She was in a hole the dog had dug in high grasses—and would have been difficult to spot with the high-tech drones and spotting planes that were used in the rescue effort.
Despite the large populations of wolves and bears that are known to live in the area, the only beasts who appear to have attempted to eat Karina alive were mosquitoes. She’s covered in bites but has minimal injuries.