Rescued puppies lift spirits amid aftermath of deadly Italy avalanche

Three puppies provided a glimmer of comfort in the aftermath of a deadly avalanche in central Italy. On Monday firefighters pulled the white Abruzzo sheepdogs from the wreckage of Hotel Rigopiano in the Pescara province, according to Vigili del Fuoco, Italy’s agency for fire and rescue service. The one-month-old pups were buried for five days and found in an isolated part of the complex. 

Their discovery lifted spirits of the rescue teams as they search for more survivors. The death toll from the avalanche climbed to 15 on Tuesday with the discovery of more bodies, leaving 14 people still unaccounted for. The area was slammed by a series of powerful earthquakes and yards of snowfall that triggered the Jan. 18 avalanche at the hotel. 

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The discovery of three puppies gave emergency crews new hope for the 23 people still missing in the disaster. 

Italian Firefighters via AP
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An Italian Forestry Corp officer officer holds one of three puppies that were found alive in the rubble of the avalanche-hit Hotel Rigopiano.

Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP
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A Carabinieri (Italian paramilitary police) officer officer holds one of three puppies that were found alive in the rubble of the avalanche-hit Hotel Rigopiano.

Alessandro Di Meo/ANSA via AP