Most preschoolers face foes on the playground, but Saglana Salchak recently spent hours fighting off subzero temperatures, hunger, and the threat of wolves as she hiked for miles through Siberia to seek help for her ailing grandmother. The Guardian reports that the then-4-year-old, who lived with her elderly grandparents in a remote wooded area in Russia's Tuva Republic, found her 60-year-old grandmother not responding last month. Her grandfather, who's blind, couldn't venture out for help, and so Saglana grabbed a box of matches and headed out into the minus-29-degree weather to try to get to the nearest neighbor's house about 5 miles away. The Siberian Times notes Saglana had gone on walks with her grandmother in the past and recalled that even though there was no road, if she followed the river, she'd eventually hit the neighbor's house.
She waded through snow that was sometimes chest-deep, luckily avoiding any resident wolves. "She could have easily stumbled on a pack in the darkness," the local rescue group's head tells the Guardian. One of the neighbors at her destination spotted Saglana as she walked past (she apparently couldn't see the house through the weeds) and phoned for help. Sadly, when medical staff rushed to Saglana's home, it was discovered her grandmother had died of a heart attack—and in more bad news, Tuva officials have opened a criminal probe into her mom for leaving Saglana with her elderly grandparents, who may have not been able to properly care for her. Still, the now-5-year-old is being called a hero. "You can't [easily] impress residents, [but this] amazed even the old-timers," Tuva Online wrote, per the Guardian. (A hero toddler pushed a dresser off his twin.)