NORTH READING, MA (WCVB/CNN) – When a 9-week-old Saint Bernard began choking on a piece of his lunch, police officers and firefighters jumped into action to help the unresponsive puppy.
Dog owner Megan Vitale rushed into the North Reading police station Sunday afternoon with her 9-week-old puppy Bodhi.
Little Bodhi was choking on a piece of his lunch that went down the wrong pipe. The limp and unresponsive Saint Bernard wasn’t breathing, according to the police department’s press release.
Officer Jorge Hernandez wasted no time springing into action, using a version of the Heimlich maneuver on the pup.
"So, the first couple of compressions weren't really doing anything, and then I tried to squeeze a little harder and I kind of heard a puff of air come out,” Hernandez said.
Meanwhile, members of the North Reading Fire Department, stationed on the other side of the building, came rushing over with oxygen for Bodhi, which they applied with a special mask they use on animals.
"Quickly hooked him up to that and gave him some oxygen to kind of pad him to keep him going,” firefighter Chris Hadley said.
Bodhi had been with his new family for less than 24 hours before the incident, and Vitale was distraught.
"She was very nervous when she came in. She was a lot better when she left, so that's good,” Fire Capt. Rick Nash said.
Vitale says Bodhi is resting comfortably at an animal hospital, and his prognosis is good. She also says she’s grateful to the police and fire departments who saved her dog.
"You treat everything the same. You see someone or something that's in distress and do what you can to help, and that's what we're trained to do. That's what we did,” Officer Peter DiPietro said.
Fire Chief Don Stats says his department regularly receives specialized training in how to respond to emergencies involving pets.
“Many of our firefighters have pets at home in their own families. We do not get to choose the emergency situation that comes our way, so it is important that first responders be prepared for anything,” said Stats in the press release.
Copyright 2018 WCVB, North Reading Police Department, Megan Vitale via CNN. All rights reserved.