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Puppies Found Alive Five Days After Deadly Italy Hotel Avalanche

Emergency workers on Monday rescued three puppies from a destroyed Italian hotel buried under tons of snow by an avalanche.
Image: Puppies
Firefighters pull three puppies from the rubble of a hotel buried by an avalanche in central Italy.Vigili del Fuoco

Emergency workers on Monday rescued three puppies from a destroyed Italian hotel that was buried under tons of snow by an avalanche, bringing joy to searchers who've had little reason to hold on to hope.

Italy’s fire brigade found the three white sheepdog pups five days after an avalanche triggered by a series of earthquakes buried the Rigopiano Hotel in Farindola, Italy, last Wednesday.

The puppies were found in an air pocket in the hotel’s boiler room, the brigade said.

Image: Puppies rescued alive fromavalanche-hit Rigopiano Hotel in Abruzzo, Italy
Rescue team members carry the three puppies found alive in the rubble of the avalanche-hit Rigopiano Hotel on Jan. 23, 2017. Alessandro Di Meo / EPA

Rescue workers were holding out hope for survivors as more than 20 guests and workers remained missing after the avalanche. Authorities raised the death toll to seven on Monday, according to the Associated Press.

Nine others have been rescued from the rubble.

The three rescued puppies are the offspring of Nuvola and Lupo, two sheepdogs who also lived at the hotel, officials said. The litter was born on Dec. 4.

Related: Italy Hotel Avalanche: Rescue Teams Hold Out Hope For More Survivors

Lupo and Nuvola managed to escape the avalanche alive, the brigade said, and were found in Farindola on Friday by a bartender at the hotel who knew the dogs well and was not working on the day of the incident.

The National Animal Protection Agency (ENPA) in Italy told NBC News that Nuvola and Lupo were currently with a friend of the missing hotel’s owner, and they were working on getting them reunited with their puppies.

The hotel's owner is still missing.

Image: Puppy
One of three puppies rescued from the rubble of an Italian hotel buried in an avalanche appears in a photo posted to the hotel's Facebook page before the avalanche.Hotel Rigopiano via Facebook