A northern Manitoba boy is being hailed as a hero after he crawled into a tiny, dirty culvert to rescue three pups Wednesday afternoon.

Cathie Mieyette of Spirit of Hope Rescue said Gabe Moose, 9, of South Indian Lake was playing outside when he heard crying.

"He didn't know where it came from, so he did a little investigating to go to where the sounds were coming from and the cries, the cries were getting louder," she said. "And when he got there, he got to a culvert. And as you can see in the picture, the opening's pretty little.

"And so he looked in and he couldn't see anything, because it's total darkness, but he heard the cries and he wiggled his little body in there and he pulled out three babies and got them out."

Gabe clutched the three to his chest and ran home, Mieyette said. While Gabe's mother called Spirit of Hope Rescue, a Winnipeg-based dog rescue that works with First Nations, Gabe gave the three pups a bath, then reunited them with their mother, who was nearby and happy to see her puppies.

Mieyette said she doesn't know how the puppies ended up in the culvert in the community, which is 775 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

"I don't know if the mum had them or if other people put them in there to dispose of them. I don't know what the true story is."

The puppies are about three weeks old and could have wandered away or their mother could have placed them there for protection, she said.

The puppies and mother will be fostered then placed for adoption, Mieyette said.

"We're hoping to get a committed foster who will foster for one month, and then we can bring mum and all the three babies in, have them safe here in Winnipeg."

"This gives me faith and hope that honestly, the next generation is not going to be doing what some people are doing right now to the dogs. We get so many bad days in rescue, and all rescues get the bad days, but when you see this, it's uplifting. You go, 'Yes. Thank you.'"

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