For 11 long days and nights, 3-year-old Karina Chikitova was lost in the remote Siberian wilderness, enduring through the frigid cold in a region full of bears and other dangerous predators. But the girl's tale of survival, and eventual rescue, came not through some miracle -- but by way of the loyal puppy that's being credited with saving her life.
Karina's parents feared the worst when the girl and her dog disappeared after she set out to follow her father through the woods to a neighboring town, unbeknownst to him. As the days dragged on and their search turned up no trace of her, they'd cling to the hope that the little dog kept her alive as temperatures dipped near freezing.
"If she was to hug her puppy, we thought, this would have given her a chance to stay warm during the nights and survive," said her father, to The Siberian Times.
But when the dog turned up back at their village nine days later without Karina, their "hearts sank" knowing that now, she was truly all alone. Soon, however, they discovered that the puppy hadn't abandoned his young companion -- he'd come to get help.