This little girl got lost in a bear-infested forest. You’ll never guess who saved her.

It’s a mother’s worst nightmare.

On 29th July, 2014, three-year-old Karina wandered into the Siberian wilderness from her home in Olom, a remote town in northeast Russia, and never came back.

Her mother, assuming that Karina and her dog accompanied her father Rodion on a trip back to his native village, thought nothing of it until she discovered the awful truth four days later.

Immediately, a massive search and rescue operation was launched, aided by a helicopter, an unmanned drone and close to 100 local residents. The search went on for days with no success, and everyone started fearing the worst.

Then, on the ninth day, the dog turned up at the girl’s home.

“That was the moment when our hearts sank,” said Afanasiy Nikolayev, spokesman for the Sakha Republic Rescue Service.

At this time of year, nighttime temperatures can drop below freezing in Siberia.

“If she was to hug her puppy, we thought, this would have given her a chance to stay warm during nights and survive. So when her dog came back we thought ‘that’s it.’”

But it turns out the puppy had returned to lead the rescuers back to the girl, who had now been missing for 11 days in the bear-infested taiga.

Artyom Borisov, a 21-year-old volunteer with the local fire service, was the first to spot Karina:

“Miracles do happen! I saw her sitting between hillocks in the tall grass. When the child saw me, she wept quietly and reached out her hands. My heart sank, and tears filled my eyes. She was weak, pale and very skinny. The girl immediately asked me for food and drink.”

They gave her some tea and biscuits and tended to her until she was reunited with her family.

Karina and her mother were flown to a hospital in Yakutsk where doctors said that while she suffered scratches on her feet and plenty of insect bites, she was otherwise in good health.

“She doesn’t want to speak about the time she spent in taiga, or not yet. The only thing she said that she was eating berries and drank water from rivers,” said Nikolayev.

But there’s no doubt that her life was saved by her loyal and faithful canine friend, whose name remains a mystery despite its amazing heroism. Lassie would be proud.