NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – It was a close call for seven puppies and their mom after being caught in the Hermits Peak Calf Canyon Fire. The dogs are lucky to be alive after they were found just feet from smoldering ash. In a picture captured by Aaron Abeyta, smoke is still coming from the ground as six puppies sleep peacefully.

The seven mastiff puppies and their mom were caught up in the fire, like so many other animals in the area. “Some people were given evacuation orders when they might not have been home, and they couldn’t come back to their homes… some people didn’t know where they could go with their pets, or livestock,” said Mattie Allen, director of the Española Humane.

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Allen says that even though fire crews have been overwhelmed trying to gain control of the unpredictable fire, they’ve still made time to help feed and rescue animals they find along the way. “They were feeding their own lunches to these pets,” said Allen.

When Española Humane heard about the firefighter’s sacrifice, they started gathering pet food donations to send out with crews. Allen says they’ve collected thousands of pounds of food and rescued several pets including kittens from the fire area. As for the mastiff puppies, they’ve all found forever homes, mom has been spayed and has been reunited with her owner.