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Saturday, July 31, 2021

Oxana Malaya, the girl who was raised by dogs for five years

There are many cases known in history when human children were raised by animals. In one of the most famous cases, Dina Sanichar, for example, was raised by wolves. It seems impossible for many of us that a human being can survive alongside wild animals. However, life gives us a lesson that goodness and caring is a universal language we share with animals.

Children raised by non-human caregivers learn the habits of the animals they grow up with. Even though they cannot speak, they have feelings just like people raised by other humans. They are people, they can think, and they want to live.

One of these amazing cases is that of Oxana, born in Novaya Blagoveshchensk, Ukraine. The girl was born in November 1983 and her childhood was not a fairytale one. Both her parents were alcoholics, so the child was extremely neglected and never knew parental love. She was exposed to cold and miserable circumstances until some non-human creatures took pity on her: at three, she was adopted by dogs that lived in the yard of their house. Her parents seemingly did not even notice her absence, and so Oxana kept living among dogs for five years, eating the food the dogs offered her. During the years when she was raised by dogs, she only occasionally saw people.

During the most formative years of her life, dogs were the only creatures who gave Oxana affection and protected her, as her parents did not care about her at all.

Oxana Malaya, the girl who was raised by dogs for five years
Photo: Imgur

After several years spent with dogs, the girl started taking up their habits. She worked on four legs, barked, ate only raw meat, and slept in the space reserved for the dogs. When the neighbors finally notified the authorities, the social workers who came to investigate the case saw a scene that they would never been able to imagine. First, they had to fight off the dogs to get to Oxana, who barked nervously.

When she was examined, it was found that she was severely underdeveloped. She could not walk or stand on her feet. The doctors were afraid that Oxana would never learn to talk. Researchers showed that if a child has not been exposed to human language until the age of five, they would start losing the ability to ever learn to speak.

Despite the grim prospects, Oxana has improved amazingly. The devotion of the caretakers from the orphanage for special needs children was so great that they managed to turn her back into a human. She was taught how to use her hands to eat and other everyday skills.

Despite all the social abilities that she has learned, the years spent around animals had indelible marks on her. Even though she learned to speak, Oxana has a limited vocabulary, and the tone of her voice is flat, without intonation and cadence.

Specialists say that the girl has the intellectual capacities of a six-year-old child. She can follow instructions and loves being in the center of attention, but she cannot focus for an extended period of time. If she sees a gift, her first instinct is to hide it, just like a dog would hide a bone.

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