Puppies Rescued After an Avalanche in Italy


Sydney Gibson, Staff Writer

This past week a hotel in Italy’s Gran Sasso mountain was nearly entirely buried due to an avalanche. The search came to a close in the past few days with 29 deaths and 11 rescues, not including the three Abruzzo Sheepdogs. Reporters informed that at least four children were among the survivors.

The puppies are a month and a half old and survived the tragic event by being trapped in an air pocket inside the hotel. Their parents’ “Nuvola” and “Lupo”, who are known among the hotel visitors, were taken in and are well. The puppies are also okay and were more than happy to meet their rescuers.

The Hotel Rigopiano was in the process of being searched for survivors trapped under the rubble when the firefighters stumbled across the dogs. They had been trapped for five days and were rescued on Monday.

One Firefighter, Fabio Jerman, called it “an important sign of life, which gives us hope,” according to the Guardian. The rescuers had been working in less than ideal conditions, they faced the threat of another avalanche as they carried out their search and rescue mission.

Another rescuer, Sonia Marini, a member of the Forestry Corps, told the Associated Press, “[The dogs] 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.”

The avalanche was caused by an earthquake and almost entirely engulfed the hotel. The rescuers were even dropped by helicopter nearby due to the weather conditions making it so difficult to access by road. The hotel is located at about 85 miles (135 kilometers) northeast of Rome, Italy.

According to CNN, only hours before the avalanche, the director of the hotel called for assistance due to terrified guests. Phone lines were out, the roads had been blocked from the heavy snowfall and there was increasing concern for the safety of the people staying there.

“I don’t know how, but I managed to get back to my village outside Farindola safe and sound,” wrote Martina Rossi, a local who works as a barista at Rigopiano. “This certainly cannot fill the emptiness and destruction that had brought the area to its knees yet still waiting for positive news. But these [three] beautiful dogs and looking at them has certainly managed to restore my heart, at least for a few seconds, bringing hope.”

“…A little ray of sunshine,” is what one firefighter referred to the rescue as.