Ivan Mishukov

Age: 6
Date: 1998
Location: Retova, Russian Federation
Animals: Dogs

In 1998, the collapse of the Russian economy meant that some 2 million homeless children in Russia were pretty much left to fend for themselves. One six-year-old boy, Ivan Mishukov, made the headlines in the summer of that year because of his preference for living in the streets under the protection of a pack of wild dogs.

Abandoned by his parents
Ivan Mishukov chose the streets for his home after he was abandoned by his parents (or, possibly, decided to leave the apartment where his mother lived with her alcoholic boyfriend) at the age of four.

Lived with dogs
Ivan Mishukov earned the trust of a pack of wild dogs by offering them scraps from the food he managed to beg, and in return for the food, they provided him with protection from the winter temperatures on the streets of Reutova, west of Moscow, which can reach 30 below zero (Celsius).

Caught by police
Ivan became known to the police, but they could not separate him from the dogs, in spite of three attempts. Each time, the dogs came to the defence of the boy, who by now had lived two years on the streets. Eventually the police managed to separate the pack from Ivan by laying bait for the animals inside a restaurant kitchen. Deprived of his guard dogs, the savagely snarling boy was quickly trapped.

Back to normality
Because he could talk before his sojourn on the streets, Ivan Mishukov could of course still talk on his return to human society. He spent a short while in the Reutov children's shelter and then started school.