Jul 24, 2006

Man's inhumanity to man

Oxana Malaya was literally raised by dogs for five years after her alcohlic parents left her outside and she crawled into a hovel where the dogs were kept.
What is known about "the Dog Girl" has been passed down aurally, through doctors and carers. "She was like a small animal. She walked on all fours. She ate like a dog," is about as scientific as it gets.

Last month, the British child psychologist and expert on feral children, Lyn Fry, went to the Ukraine with a Channel 4 film crew to meet Oxana, who now lives in a home for the mentally disabled.


"I expected someone much less human," says Fry, the first non-Ukrainian expert to meet Oxana. "I'd heard stories that she could fly off the handle, that she was very unco-operative, that she was socially inept, but she did everything I asked of her.

"Her language is odd. She speaks flatly as though it's an order. There is no cadence or rhythm or music to her speech, no inflection or tone. But she has a sense of humour. She likes to be the centre of attention, to make people laugh. Showing off is quite a surprising skill when you consider her background.

"She made a very striking impression on me. When I made her a gift of some wooden toy animals we had used in tests, she thanked me. Superficially, you would never know this was a young woman raised by dogs."

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