The legend of Rome begins with the story of twin brothers Romulus and Remus being raised by the Capitoline she-wolf

A 7-year old boy, raised by a shepherd dog was found in Siberia. The story of the young Andrey Tolstik is a sad one – his mother left the family, the father began drinking and finally abandoned him with the dog in the harsh Siberian tundra. When he was found, Andrey walked on 4 legs, ran from people, barked and growled. He was taken to a shelter, where the doctors tried to figure out whether he can live with people or he will remain a “dog” forever. Andrey became friends with one girl in the children’s home, he cuddled in to her and she started to communicate with him using signs. The other kids shrugged him and called him a wildling, because he was easy to become aggressive and start snapping at them if he is confused. He learnt to walk, make his bed and eat with a spoon. The doctors don’t think he will ever manage to blend in as he was probably born with hearing and speech disabilities.

Ivan after he was first taken away from his dog-pack and a couple of years later as a student

The stories of children, raised by dogs in Russia are not uncommon. In 98 the 6-year old Ivan Mishukov was found in Moscow. He had been living on the streets with a pack of stray dogs for over 2 years after his alcoholic mother left him. He learned to beg for food and shared it with the pack until they accepted him as their leader. They slept together in the horrid Moscow winters and kept him safe from anyone who tried to get near him. The police tried to catch him unsuccessfully on 3 occasions until finally they figured out a way to lure the dogs away from him in a nearby yard. Ivan bit and growled like a little wild puppy. He also tried to escape from the shelter and get back to his dogs many times. He is now able to speak and goes to school, but still dreams of dogs every night.

Kunu Masala was abandoned by his mother and reared by a dog. The bitch nursed him when she had puppies and brought him scavenged food in the rest of the time.
Oxana Malaya is not really a “feral child” in the sense that she did have a home. But she spent most of her time locked outside in the dog kennel by her alcoholic parents between the age of 3 and 8.

There are too many cases such as this one in the former USSR, India and Latin America. Animals who have been known to raise human orphans are not only dogs, but also wolves, bonobos, bears, jackals and even panthers. Most of the children that never had contact with people between their 2-no and 6-th year never manage to get used to the human life. Almost all of them never learn to feel completely relaxed amongst people and feel “at home” only with the animals that raised them. Although they can be taught to point and objects and lean their names, they rarely manage to get a hold of any grammar or speech structure. Almost neither of them survive to their 15-th year.

30 September 2012 | Blog

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