Dog uses own body to keep toddler alive in Siberian cold

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Winters in Siberia are snowy, icy, and bitterly cold, with temperatures plunging to as low as -12°C  (10°F).

The Siberian Times reports that in January 2017, villagers in the Loktevsky district of Altai region in southern Siberia, Russia, found a dog, covered in snow, curled up on the unheated porch of a home.

Beneath the dog was a two-year-old toddler, barely alive, with acute hypothermia.

The boy had lived in the house with his mother, who left the child alone at home. If it were not for the dog who, for two days, shielded the toddler from the cold by wrapping his body around the child, the boy would have died from exposure.

Four days after she left, the mother returned. She “is being investigated in a criminal case, accused of deliberately abandoning her child,” and “faces a potential jail sentence and losing the rights to raise her child.”

I searched in Siberian Times‘ archives for a follow-up, but found none.

In a comment, a Siberian Times reader wrote that according to the dog’s owner, the dog is an 8-months-old Husky mix named Betes.

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11 responses to “Dog uses own body to keep toddler alive in Siberian cold

  1. How pathetic it is when a dog has more nurturing sense than a human mother. It continues to amaze me with so many instances of animals who will shelter and care for human children. God did a marvelous thing to create dogs, and to place within their hearts this sense of nurturing.

  2. Dogs are the friends you need when humans just wont do. They listen they love and never complain and if they had to give there life for you.
    I only hope that child has other family who have a brain and can function as a normal human.

  3. ♥ This got is the poster child for unconditional love.

  4. Good doggie!

  5. I am such a softie for these animal/human, etc stories. What makes them “tick?” Why, as Auntie LuLu noted, are some animals more compassionate to preserving the lives around them…even strangers….than human beings might be at times….even human PARENTS?????

    We had a little black Shih-Tzu/Cocker Spaniel mix who looked all Shih-Tzu. I named her “Susie-Me-Too” b/c when I brought her home as a tiny pup, and she met the cats, she was exuberant & “all-in” with them, like she was saying “me too, me too!” One day I came home on a cold day from work and she, a totally indoor dog, would not come inside. She was busy with something out there in the cold, under a bush. Upon investigation, she’d taken an abandoned, apricot-colored, days-old kitten, dug a “nest” under the bush, and was cuddling around it to keep it warm. We rescued this days-old newborn kitten and named him “Feival” after the movie mouse…b/c that’s just about how big he was when he came into our care. He lived with us for 23 years.

  6. I’m waiting to compose myself after becoming choked on reading the above comments, which have so much truth in them they become painful to read.

    Auntie Lulu started it, but she knows me and why a big tough old guy turns so emotional about stories such as this.

    Now let me tell you how this dog saved the boy’s life: I’m not saying that he understood all the processes, but this is what had to happen in order for this outcome to be successful.

    First there was an internal signal for mindless devotion to ensure survival of the child. He probably saw him/her being left as his charge.

    Secondly, he knew to lie down curled around, as the best way to keep himself warm. Now comes the tough part!

    Thirdly, he knew he’d not be able to respond to hunger, to get up and feed: he had to stay with his charge until a human came for both of them. How many of us could do the same?

    I do intermittent fasting based on 24 hr OMAD, but I know how hungry people get after only 3 days fasting. Try to imagine a dog used to someone setting out food once or twice a day regularly!

    Fourth and finally, he had to never despair of a positive outcome: if he had, then he’d just get up and walk away. How many of us would have had the same faith?

    Yes, I used the word faith, because he’s a believer in a Higher Power. This is NOT the same as anthropomorphising a dog to be as a human, because obviously the dog is neither Christian nor aware of the Trinity. Yet who among us has had the faith of this dog?

    • Well said, Joseph. Where I disagree with you is your assertion that Betes, the dog-saint, is not aware of the Trinity.

      Who’s to say he isn’t? St. Bonaventure called non-human animals “creatures without sin” for, unlike Adam & Eve, they did not rebel against God, wanting to be “like gods”. And so, unlike humans, they are without the blight of Original Sin. By their actions, like what Betes did, I believe these creatures-without-sin are pure souls who hear their Creator more clearly than we humans do.

      • Excellent points, Eo! I’m not as well-versed in doctrine as you, as I’ve not studied it in 50 years.

        I assumed that a dog can’t think abstractedly in the same way as a human. That is, they do think, but not necessarily as complexly as we do.

      • And most assuredly, they are in direct communication far better than 90% of us are! And this is true, because we instantly and universally recognise this when we read about their selfless acts, even if we do not discuss it.

    • Thank you Joseph . I don’t understand God’s ways. I just live within them as best I can. And, I try to accept them, even if it’s difficult or without an immediate answer to my questions and fears or doubts. IMO these creatures who have saved humans and other beings do not “follow” the logic of “outcome.” They know only the logic of the here and now and they act upon it instinctively……if you are too cold, you die…….( in fact…this seems almost universal for warm-blooded creatures…when was there a time when you heard of one species protecting another from being too hot?) BUT….that said…there is a point of commitment…which we , as humans, would call “faith.” And this is what these animals exhibit……a commitment to outcome…which is based, IMO in FAITH, b/c it has an unlimited timing…it could be minutes, hours, or days or weeks of commitment to this goal to which they entered upon…and they stay, until the end…..or we would NOT have these stories to relate.


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