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Stella the dog got a new leash on life Saturday morning, thanks to a group of persistent Santa Monica firefighters.

The dog was trapped inside a burning apartment building at the corner of 2nd and Hill Street.

Firefighters discovered the animal behind a mattress as they searched the five-unit structure for victims.

Stella suffered smoke inhalation, and was unconscious when firefighters whisked the animal to safety.

Firefighters tend to Stella (Santa Monica Fire Dept.)

“If you walked in there and looked at it the first time through you wouldn’t see it,” Captain Jeff Furrows of the Santa Monica Fire Department told KTLA 5 News.  “But he was obviously trying to get away, that’s what his instincts told him to do.”

Luckily, firefighters were carrying a pet oxygen mask.

They carefully placed it over Stella’s nose, and waited 15 minutes for the dog to respond.

Stella’s owner was not at home at the time, and the dog was taken to an animal hospital to recover.

No other injuries were reported.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.