The rescue of three puppies who’d been buried for five days under a deadly avalanche provided a glimmer of comfort during the continuing rescue effort in central Italy.
Firefighters on Monday pulled the white Maremma sheepdogs from the wreckage of Hotel Rigopiano in the Pescara province, where 23 people have been found dead.
Nine survivors have been found and six people remain missing.
The puppies had been born in December to the hotel’s resident dogs, Lupo and Nuvola (Wolf and Cloud), who had escaped the quake and found shelter in the nearby village of Farindola, according to a report in The Local.
The births had been prominently featured on the resort’s website.
The discovery lifted spirits of the rescue teams as they searched for more survivors.
The one-month-old pups were found in an isolated part of the resort, which was slammed by a series of powerful earthquakes and avalanche Jan. 18.
“They just started barking very softly,” said Sonia Marini, a member of the Forestry Corps. “In fact, it was hard to find them right away because they were hidden. Then we heard this very tiny bark and we saw them from a little hole the firefighters had opened in the wall. Then we expanded the hole and we pulled them out.”
After their rescue and medical checks, the puppies were reunited with their parents in Farindola, where one of the hotel employees had taken them in.
(Photo by Marisa Basilavecchia / AP)