girl with dog in snowy wilderness

10-Year-Old Girl Survives -11°C Blizzard By Hugging Stray Dog

Do miracles still happen today? Yes, they do. Miracles are a rare occurrence. One such miracle happened in Uglegorsk, on Sakhalin thanks to a stray dog. Sakhalin is Russia’s largest island, where temperatures can easily fall well below 12.2°F (-11°C). Imagine spending more than 12 hours in the freezing winter storm. Needless to say, Nature seldom lets the unprepared survive in such conditions. But today’s story is not a sad one. 

Today we have the miraculous story of a ten-year-old girl named Vika Z from Uglegorsk. On January 13, like any other day, Vika left school at 1 pm. However, she would not reach home for supper that evening. 

Vika Z had disappeared. Her mother, Tatyana, 34, was worried sick. She called the police and informed them that her daughter was missing.

Local Authorities Begin The Hunt

A blizzard had piled snow nearly 24 inches high in Uglegorsk. The town was located 170 miles NE of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, Sakhalin’s administrative center. They feared the worst as the temperature outside was freezing. Authorities urged volunteers to aid in searching for the missing child. 

Vika (left) with her mom Tanya (right)
Image Credits: Social Media | Siberian Times via Daily Mail

As time passed, the weather worsened, and their visibility almost dropped to zero. 

Head of NCMIC (Sakhalin branch), Evgenia Tuchkova, stated that they should help their people in Uglegorsk. She said that the poor weather conditions had slowed them down. The sun had set, and there was no trace of the little girl. As the hours passed, hopes of finding her alive died. 

A 10-year-old girl could not survive alone in the blizzard. Had she been buried under the snow? There were so many things that could have gone wrong: had someone rescued her? Had she been kidnapped? Dreadful questions raced through the minds of the search party. 

They searched houses, alleys, and yards in the locality. The searchers yelled out Vika’s name, with hopes that she would reply. They interrogated residents. The night passed, and with the first rays of the sun, the search party received an invaluable tip. A resident recalled seeing a young girl with a homeless dog. He had seen Vika playing in an apartment’s yard. 

Read: Blue dogs seen roaming near abandoned Russian chemical factory

It’s A Miracle All Thanks To One Stray Dog!

It was around half past 7 in the morning when the searchers found Vika Z under a low balcony. [1] Vika had sought refuge there with her furry friend when the blizzard hit. The search party saw an amazing scene: Vika and her four-legged friend were seating peacefully on a mattress that someone had placed there for the dogs.

A Stray dog on the streets of Russia. (This is not the one that rescued Vika).
Image Credits: Social Media | Siberian Times via Daily Mail

Vika was only 500 yards from her house. The balcony protected them from the snow. The temperature under the balcony was 23°F.  As for the other factor, luckily, Vika’s dress was suitable enough for the temperature. 

Rescuers breathed a sigh of relief as the girl was alive and well. Anatoly Ivanov said that it was unbelievable that the girl survived the weather. Ivanov recounted how the temperature was cold enough to freeze his fingers stiff, even though they were inside his mittens. It took nearly 40 people more than 18 hours to find Vika. [2]

The rescuers rushed Vika to the hospital. Tatyana, her mother, managed to finally see her daughter once more there. Even the doctors were surprised as Vika only suffered from mild frostbite after the horrifying night. She was discharged the same day.

Vika used to feed the stray dogs in the locality. Every day after school, she would feed the stray dogs and play with them. She had been doing the same activity when the blizzard hit. Vika, not knowing what to do, followed a stray dog and hid with him under the balcony. She had snuggled with the dog for warmth. Her furry friend had saved her life. 

Plans were made to honor the stray dog for saving Vika’s life but they were unable to find the dog. 

Keep Reading: ‘I can not give him up’: Greensboro man experiencing homelessness chooses dog over housing, much-needed surgery


  1. Missing Girl Survives Freezing Blizzard by Hugging Stray Dog for 18 Hours.” Newsweek. Brendan Cole. January 19, 2022.
  2. Girl, ten, survives -11C temperatures by cuddling a stray dog for warmth after getting lost in a snowstorm as she walked home from school in Russia.” Daily Mail. Will Stewart. January 18, 2022