A golden retriever called Romeo has been pulled alive from a pile of rubble in central Italy 10 days after towns in the area were levelled by a magnitude-6.2 earthquake.
Video released by the fire department showed firefighters freeing the dog on Friday from the ruins of a building in Amatrice, where 231 people died in the August 24 quake.
A man in the video could be heard yelling in Italian: “Romeo, come here! Best dog in the world!”
Despite his ordeal, Romeo ran around wagging his tail, stopping only to be patted and to let a firefighter inspect his paw.
Appearing completely relaxed, the dog slurped his first drops of water in more than 230 hours from a bottle held by one of the firemen.
As it became clear he was unscathed, the fireman holding him put him down. Romeo then tiptoed gracefully down the pile of rubble to be reunited with tearful owners who had given up hope of finding him alive.
“He’s in great shape,” said one of the firemen as others whooped in delight while Romeo trotted around the remains of his yard.
Daily Mail reported that Romeo’s owners were sleeping on the second floor of their house in the tiny village of San Lorenzo a Flaviano when the earthquake struck before dawn on August 24.
They managed to get out, but Romeo, who was sleeping on the first floor, was trapped inside. After searching for him for hours, they were eventually evacuated from the devastated village for their own safety.
All hope of finding Romeo alive appeared to have disappeared until Friday evening, when the couple returned to their home in the company of a group of firemen assigned to help them recover key belongings from the rubble.
Almost as soon as they came into the tiny medieval village, Romeo heard their voices and began barking.
“We immediately began moving masonry from where the barking was coming from and incredibly we got to him and he was in pretty good condition,” one of the firemen told the ANSA news agency.
“Luckily some beams had fallen in a way that they were holding up the weight of everything above them, leaving Romeo with a little niche that he was able to survive in.”