Firefighters in Poland say a small dog probably saved the life of a three-year-old who went missing from her home overnight in freezing temperatures.
The child, Julia, vanished on Friday and was found lying in marshes several
kilometres from her house on Saturday morning, with the dog by her side. She is now in hospital in western Poland, suffering from frostbite after
temperatures fell to -5C (23F).
Firefighter Grzegorz Szymanski said the dog kept the child warm enough to
live. "For the whole night the animal was with the girl, it never left her.
Remember, it was 5 degrees below zero and the child was wet," he said, adding
that the animal was the most important factor in the girl's survival.
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More than 200 people had searched for the child overnight. It is thought she
spent hours wandering through the forest near her home in the village of
Pierzwin. Her parents had last seen the three-year-old playing in the backyard with the
small black mongrel. She was eventually discovered by firefighters after she was heard crying for