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A 10-year-old Russian girl who went missing on the afternoon of January 13th was found, alive and well, 18 hours later thanks to a little help from a four-legged buddy.
Local police were alerted to the disappearance of little Viktoria Zarubina by her mother, after the 10-year-old failed to return to her home in the town of Uglegorsk, located on the island of Sakhalin. Dozens of people joined in the search for her, but efforts turned up nothing before an incoming blizzard dropped visibility down to nearly zero, while dropping as much as 2 feet of snow on the area, according to MSN.com.
Undaunted by the worsening weather and cold temps, volunteers searched throughout the night, looking through yards and alleys and questioning neighbors door to door. Finally, search teams were given the tip that a neighbor had seen Zarubina playing with a stray dog in front of an apartment building. Volunteers followed up on the tip and that was when they found the small girl huddled under an overhanging balcony of the building, clinging to the dog for warmth.
Happily, Zarubina had been dressed properly for cold temperatures and the building's balcony had offered some protection from the storm. That, coupled with the shared body heat from the stray pupper, allowed the girl to stay relatively warm and safe until she was found about 7:30 a.m. the following morning—nearly 18 hours after she'd gone missing.
"The fact that the girl remained alive in such weather really is a miracle," one of the search party volunteers, Anatoly Ivanov, told Russian paper Komsolmolskaya Pravda.
Zarubina was taken to the local hospital and given a good checkup, but was able to return home to her mother the same day. And while there's no word on what happened to the stray who helped save Zarubina's life, we can all hope that he was given a hot meal, some good belly rubs, and maybe even a nice, warm forever home.