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'Now I feel better'

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18 September 2014


Now Karina is happier and healthier than when she was plucked to safety. Picture: YSIA

Karina Chikitova made headlines around the world after The Siberian Times revealed her ordeal when she got lost in remote forests alive with  bears and wolves. 

After 11 nights, she was found by rescuers in a grassy hole in the taiga in Russia's coldest region, the Sakha Republic, or Yakutia. 

During the cool nights out in the wild, she huddled up to family dog Naida. The animal eventually went back to her village, evidently to summon help, but leaving the three year old completely alone. 

In late July, Karina had followed her father into the taiga from their far-flung village, though he was unaware she did so. Then she got hopelessly lost, even though when was only a few kilometres from her home. 

Now five weeks after the end of her ordeal, Karina has been discharged from the second of two hospitals in Yakutsk where she was treated with her mother Talina close by her side. 

Karina Chikitova smiles

Karina Chikitova with cell phone

Karina Chikitova in hospital

Doctors say: 'Karina is quite independent, talks like an adult and we think that she is well brought up.' Pictures: YSIA

As our new pictures show, she is happier and healthier than when she was plucked to safety, weak from lack of food, and with mosquito bites covering her face. 

Her doctor at the City Children's Hospital, Fedora Gogoleva, said: 'We did not ask her too much about what happened. She tries to forget it. We asked only how she slept, how she feels.' 

'Her appetite has improved, she gained weight and feels good. She also talked with our psychologist here.'

The doctor puts her survival down to her experience in the outdoors as a Yakutian village girl.

'The family live far away in a remote village, not in the city, and it makes its mark,' she said. 'She was raised close to nature.

'Certainly she went with grandmother and parents to the forest, to gather berries. Perhaps this is why she was not afraid of the forest. 

'Karina herself is a very strong girl, has a strong-willed character. This probably helped her to survive.'

She added: 'The girl is communicative, active, her emotions are positive. She gets along well with other children, plays with them. Especially with her new friend Gena....

'She is quite independent, talks like an adult and we think that she is well brought up.'

Karina with mom sits on the bed

Karina with mom in hospital

Red elephant made by Karina

'She talks about how lovely her mother is and about her home. She says what she likes, which colours and animals.' Pictures: YSIA

Lyubov Kolesova, her occupational therapist, said: 'She doesn't say and remember much about this accident. 

'She talks about how lovely her mother is and about her home. She says what she likes, which colours and animals, All her pictures are colourful. You can see she is a  talented, creative person.'

Now she is on her way home to the village Neryuktyainsk, Olekminsky district, for a reunion with the dog which saved her live. 

Her mother Talina said that she had been out in the fields on the day Karina disappeared. 

'Karina was being cared for by her granny,' she said. 'My husband left on a trip to another village and she was convinced he had taken Karina with him.'

It took several days to establish phone contact and discover that, in fact, the girl was missing. 

The search for Karina began.

When the five month old puppy came back, tired and exhausted, after more than a week, the rescuers feared the worst. 

Karina Chikitova in her grass shelter

Karina is carried by rescue officer

Karina near the rescuers car

Karina with psychologist

Karina's puppy Naida

Remembering the touching moments of the rescue operation. Pictures: Sakha Republic Rescue Service

In fact, the dog was trying to tell the family that Karina was alive and needed to be rescued - but Naida proved useless in remembering where she was. Sniffer dogs were deployed to try and trace the scent, but the animals are trained for tracking people, and did not follow Naida's trail. 

The rescuers had to be guarded by armed police. 

'The forest around Olom is full of bears,' said rescuer Albert Semyonov. 'Close to the gunners we felt somehow calmer. However, the thought of bears immediately switched to another concern: somewhere in the forest was this helpless child.'

The breakthrough came when rescuers found Karina's footprint on the bank of a river when she had gone to drink water. Next to her print, was the paw mark of a dog. This gave rescuers hope they were in the right area, and next days they found Karina.

With special thanks to YSIA news agency

Comments (4)

Great to see you smile, Karina, & you look beautiful in the new photographs. I said in a comment to Siberian News that I'd like to see you smiling in a photograph one their website & so today is the day. I hope you're very happy now to be home with your family & your pet dog who saved you. May you stay safe from now on & flourish at school when the time nice to see you smile.
jojnjo, Dublin
20/09/2014 04:44
All the best for Karina

I am so happy that she is looiking great now!!
Sam, Canada
19/09/2014 11:21
Thank you very much for these good news.
Karina is a very nice and strong little girl. Her red elephant is the MORE beautiful elephant in the WORLD!!
I love Karina and her Puppy!!!! =°o°=

merci à tous et @ bientôt d'autres nouvelles
Jocelyne, FRANCE
19/09/2014 03:04
Here is a NEWS story with a HAPPY ENDING. Most of the NEWS we hear makes me sad, and its nice to hear some good News, that gives me a smile.
Darwin Hardy, Hurricane, Utah USA
18/09/2014 21:53

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