During times of stress, animals always seem to have the uncanny ability to help us pull through. Have you ever had your stress melt away the very second you plant your face in your cat’s belly? Yeah, us too. And nothing can compare to dog kisses when you’re sad. In fact, studies have shown that our dogs are actually in tune with our emotions and can sense when we’re feeling down. But sometimes, all we need is the presence of an animal to reduce our stress.

Just five days ago, Hotel Rigopiano, located in central Italy, was struck by a massive 60,000 ton avalanche. Snow, rock, and uprooted trees, covering the hotel completely. Rescue crews got to work immediately, digging through the snow and rubble in search of survivors. With a total of 40 people missing in the immediate aftermath, we can only imagine the stress and the sadness felt by each and every one of them as each minute ticked by, knowing that people were still missing.  Nobody could have expected what else they found…

Five days after Hotel Rigopiano in central Italy was struck with a devastating avalanche, rescue teams uncovered a litter of three puppies from the rubble.

Sonia Marini, a member of the Forestry Corps, told the Associated Press how they found the fuzzy babies: “They just started barking very softly. 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.”

Crews had been working tirelessly to rescue as many people as possible from the aftermath of the avalanche, which has claimed a total of 14 lives so far. Finding the puppies immediately raised the team’s spirit.

Firefighter spokesperson Luca Cari told the Associated Press “We’re happy to have saved them, and these are important moments in a dramatic situation.”

The puppies were then reunited with their parents, Nuvola and Lupo, two Abruzzo sheepdogs who lived at Hotel Rigopiano.



While Luca Cari told the Associated Press that finding the puppies does not necessarily mean that the rescue crews will be able to find more survivors, it seems like finding these puppies was enough to give everyone the hope needed to press on. At this moment, 11 survivors have been found and 15 people are still missing. We wish the best for the people who have yet to be found, a speedy recovery to the ones recovering, and our deepest condolences to the family and friends of those who have lost loved ones in the avalanche.

All image source: Associated Press