Puppy cuddled her, helping to keep her alive when she got lost in the Siberian taiga for 11 days and nights.
The dog came home after nine days evidently seeking help to rescue Karina. Picture: Sakha Republic Rescue Service
The dog stayed with Karina Chikitova, keeping her warm, after she and her pet wandered away from her home in a remote village in diamond-rich Sakha Republic, the largest region in Russia. The area where she lives has large populations of bears and wolves.
Eventually, after nine days in which the girl survived on river water and berries, the dog left her in a protective hole amid long grass and found its way home to summon help. The loyal and loving mongrel is known as Kyrachaan to locals, meaning 'little one' in the Yakutian language.
Remarkably, Karina, aged three years and seven months, suffered minimal injuries - but as our picture shows, she was badly bitten by mosquitoes.
Today we have more pictures of Karina's dramatic rescue but also the revelation that her family is under investigation for neglect in letting her disappear into the wild.
The truth emerged yesterday of a nightmare confusion between the parents and the child's grandmother over her whereabouts, which meant that long days passed before anyone realised little Karina was missing from her home in Olom village in Olyokminsky district.
Karina Chikitova is three years and seven months old. Pictures: Sakha Republic Rescue Service
The parents were haymaking in a distant field and were absent for a few days while Karina was being looked after by her grandmother.
Huge wild fires in Siberia meant that her father Rodion was summoned on 29 July to work in a volunteer team to combat the flames engulfing the region.
The grandmother saw the father leave the family home - and, she claims, thought Karina was going with him. The father says he had no idea that the grandmother thought he had taken the child. When mother Aitalina returned from the fields, she was surprised to learn that her husband had taken Karina.
It took several days for him to reach her by phone - and all the time little Karina was cuddling up to the dog out in the open, some six kilometres from home, but unable to get back.
'When she reach him by phone on 2 August, he said Karina was not with him and should be with the grandmother,' said Stanislav Platonov, head of the press service of the republics Interior Ministry. '
'Aitalina called to police. The first team of police and rescuers appeared on the scene on 3 August and immediately began the search. Later we got more equipment and specialists and luckily found the girl in the end'.
The dog came home after nine days evidently seeking help to rescue Karina.
'The first team of police and rescuers appeared on the scene on 3 August and immediately began the search'. Picture: Sakha Republic Rescue Service
Here accounts differ: TV reports say that the dog led the rescuers to the girl. Another version is that by returning home, the dog let the rescuers know that Karina was not far away. The republican Investigative Committee, said it was considering whether the family had been negligent and should face legal action.
'Investigators are still working on this case. We need to decide whether to close the criminal case, or was some crime committed, like negligence for example,' said spokeswoman Nadezhda Dvoretskaya.
'Why did they let child go to the forest alone? 'Why she was without without adult supervision? The mother explained that she did not know that the young child was missing because she was at the hayfield with her husband, before he then left to help with fire-fighting.
'Later she came home and asked, 'where is the child?' The granny told her that she lay down to sleep and when she woke up, there was no Karina. The granny was sure that Karina was with her father, that he took the girl with him. The mother talked to the father, as soon as she could, due to the bad phone connection and it turned out that girl was not with him.
'She called the police. Honestly, I do not understand how could it be, that they did not worry about the child for some four days.
'But we need to consider, it is a very remote region, with very difficult phone connections, so I admit the possibility that mother really could not connect with her mother and with her husband in time and learn that Karina is missing.
'Anyway we need to examine this case and decide if the family is guilty that the child was in danger or if it was a combination of unfortunate circumstances'.
'Thank God, the girl is safe and sound'.
'And thanks too to the dog who did his duty by his young owner when it really mattered to save her life'.
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