From The ‘Real-Life Mowgli’ To The ‘Human Pet,’ Learn The Bizarre Stories Of 9 Feral Children From History

Published December 17, 2021
Updated March 12, 2024

Ivan Mishukov: The Boy Who Was Saved By Dogs

Feral Child Ivan Mishukov

Channel One/YouTubeIvan Mishukov lived with stray dogs in a town near Moscow for about two years.

While most feral humans are abandoned against their will, Ivan Mishukov found living on the streets preferable to his life at home. He had a difficult childhood in the care of an alcoholic grandfather who commonly left Mishukov on his lonesome for days on end. At the age of three or four, the young boy left the house to find refuge with stray dogs in the mid-1990s.

The homeless Russian boy and his companions begged for food from a local bakery in a town near Moscow. In the cold of night, Mishukov curled up with the pack of dogs in order to fall asleep. He named the dogs Jesse, Goga, Masha, and Seva — and spent about two years with them.

The hounds had grown to accept Mishukov as one of their own and shared whatever scraps they found in the street with him. Mishukov returned the favor. But then, the police rescued him in 1998. This took several tries, as the protective dogs wouldn’t let anyone near Mishukov at first.

Ivan Mishukov As An Adult

Channel One/YouTubeMishukov later excelled academically and now holds a full-time job.

By the time Mishukov was saved, he was about five or six years old and in clear need of help. Still, he was reluctant to leave the dogs that he had bonded with. “I loved the dogs and they loved me,” Mishukov said. “They gave me a lick on the face — that’s how dogs give kisses.”

Mishukov was soon placed into an orphanage near Moscow. His loyal canine family never forgot him, however, and appeared at the institution’s entrance gates to retrieve him. Unfortunately, local officials decided to kill the dogs — which Mishukov described as his “only family.”

“I understand that if it wasn’t for those dogs I wouldn’t have survived in the street,” said Mishukov. “But I am also grateful to policemen who took me from the pack, and of course to my foster mum who raised me.”

Mishukov’s fortune certainly changed when Tatiana Babanina took him in. The loving foster mother not only helped him recover from his traumatizing youth but also ensured that he excelled academically. After graduating from Kronstadt Naval Cadet School, he found a full-time factory job. Unlike many other feral people, his story has had a mostly happy ending.

Marco Margaritoff
A former staff writer for All That’s Interesting, Marco Margaritoff holds dual Bachelor's degrees from Pace University and a Master's in journalism from New York University. He has published work at People, VICE, Complex, and serves as a staff reporter at HuffPost.
John Kuroski
John Kuroski is the editorial director of All That's Interesting. He graduated from New York University with a degree in history, earning a place in the Phi Alpha Theta honor society for history students. An editor at All That's Interesting since 2015, his areas of interest include modern history and true crime.
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Margaritoff, Marco. "From The ‘Real-Life Mowgli’ To The ‘Human Pet,’ Learn The Bizarre Stories Of 9 Feral Children From History.", December 17, 2021, Accessed June 22, 2024.