A trio of young maremma puppies have been rescued from the ruins of the Rigopiano Hotel, in a moment of rare joy amidst a great tragedy in which at least seven people died.
Video posted by the department showed the canines being carried into a snow mobile, which was taking them to get a medical check-up.
One more victim was added to the death toll on Monday afternoon (local time) after last Wednesday's avalanche, which completely devastated the hotel and trapped the 38 people staying there.
Italy's fire department has been working for days in attempts to save the lives of as many people as possible still trapped in the building, located in Abruzzo, Central Italy. There are 22 people still missing.
However, the rescue of three puppies provided a moment of positivity and a much-needed mental boost for the fire service, who have now been searching for survivors for close to five days.
Giorgia Galassi, a 22-year-old student, was one of those rescued and told local media they had "nothing" to eat while they were trapped.
"The only thing we ate was ice. We had a lot and this kept us going," she told newspaper Corriere della Sera.
When the avalanche hit, a number of the hotel's guests had gathered on the ground floor preparing to evacuate after several earthquakes earlier in the day.