Missing girl survives blizzard by hugging stray dog she had befriended

dog in blizzard
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A missing girl who disappeared after school has survived a blizzard overnight by hugging a stray dog in Russia's far east.  

When 10-year-old Viktoria Zarubina went missing on the island of Sakhalin on January 13, 2021, her mother raised the alarm, and a search duly went underway.

But in blizzard conditions, and with very poor visibility, the search was initially proving fruitless. Despite searching all manner of houses, yards, and alleys, she was nowhere to be seen, and hopes were fading fast.

Then, a ray of hope. A local recalled seeing her playing playing with a stray dog near an old apartment building, and the prospects of finding her were reignited.

Missing girl survives blizzard by hugging stray dog

(Image credit: Social media / Siberian Times)

Thankfully, the search came to a happy conclusion when, at 7.30 am the next day, around 18 hours after she had gone missing, Viktoria was found cuddling up to the same dog on a mattress underneath a balcony. She was duly taken to hospital, but deemed well enough to be discharged the next day.

The relatively sheltered nature of the balcony, covered with the dog’s body warmth and the fact that she was suitably dressed in winter clothing, allowed her to survive the sub-zero conditions, and thus a tragedy was narrowly averted.

Speaking to Komsolmolskaya Pravda, a local volunteer said, “The fact that the girl remained alive in such weather really is a miracle,” with a local policeman adding, “Fortunately, everything turned out to be all right with the girl.”

Steve Wright

Steve writes and proofreads buying guides, news stories and advice for Pets Radar, drawing on his lifelong experience as a pet owner. Currently sharing his house with two cats and a dog, he draws on the many highs and occasional lows of pet ownership he has borne witness to in his writing. He has worked in publishing for 15 years as an editor, sub editor and writer on a range of titles, such as SciFiNow, How It Works, All About History, Real Crime and Horrorville. You can follow him on Twitter @stevewright22