All odds were against a girl when she wandered off to follow her father and got lost in the Siberian wilderness. She probably wouldn’t have made it alive if not for her four-legged companion, who decided to join her that day.

Karina Chikitova lives with her parents, grandmother, and a pet dog named Naida in the northeast region of Sakha Republic (Yakutia) of Russia. Like any other child, Karina brims with curiosity and oblivious of the consequences of her instincts.

In July 2014, a then four-year-old Karina trailed after her father into the remote area. She lost her father’s trail and ended up in the East Siberian taiga, one of the world’s coldest and dangerous places. Her father had no clue she followed after him, and no one at home knew she left either.

She spent a grueling 11 days in the wilderness without food or water, forced to tread an unfamiliar territory filled with potential predators such as bears, wolves, and tigers, to name a few. Technology isn’t advanced in the region; the odds of her getting rescued is slim.

With the risks involved, one could say that it’s quite an unfortunate situation. However, luck was still probably on Karina’s side because Naida, the family dog, decided to join her in her biggest adventure yet.

As soon as her mother found out, they alerted the authorities and deployed a rescue team to search for Karina and her dog, but the search was fruitless. Nine days after Karina’s disappearance, Naida returns, much to their surprise.

But when they found out the dog came alone, this raised the anxiety and the possibility that Karina may not survive. However, Naida’s behavior suggests that she wanted to lead the rescuers to her location, so they continued searching as Naida leads the way.

They didn’t find Karina right away; it took them three more days before finding another clue – a child’s footprints beside a dog’s by the riverbank. This discovery was valuable to the rescuers since it implies that Karina is barefoot and most likely not in the woods. This discovery narrowed their search as they executed another plan the following morning.

And just 20 meters from the location where they began the search, one of the rescuers found a lump in a patch of tall grass – it was Karina in her hiding spot. She was ever so quiet that no one would probably notice her, but when she knew help was on the way, she extended her arms to show herself. Karina was hungry, thirsty, and covered with mosquito bites, so the rescuers gave her food and water before being brought to the nearest hospital to recover.

Much to everyone’s surprise, Karina is overall well – they didn’t find anything serious with her healthwise, and she was also surprisingly stable when doctors examined her mental state. When the reporters asked how she survived 11 days in the wilderness, she said she consumed wild berries and depended on whatever available water source. Of course, her dog Naida kept her company, especially at night.

When Karina returns home and reunites with her dog, her first question was about Naida leaving. The last three days alone must be difficult, but Karina realized later that Naida saved her. Their story so inspired the people that the locals built Karina and Naida’s statue at the airport to celebrate her grit and strength of will.

Today, Karina, now ten years old, lives her dream as a talented young ballerina at a boarding school. Teachers described her as reserved, but over the years, the little girl flourished. Karina may have the grit and the strength to survive the most dangerous places on earth, but all of this was made possible because of her determined, faithful dog companion, Naida.

Watch Karina’s full story here:

Source: Did You Know Animals? via YouTube

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I'm a dog lover and a part time blogger. I want to share inspiring and heartwarming dog stories of rescue, companionship, friendship and more.


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