Quick actions of police and fire save puppy

Mar 8, 2018 by

Published in the March 8, 2018 edition

NORTH READING — After a dramatic 10-minute emergency medical effort that was captured on video in the lobby of the police station, North Reading police officers and firefighters saved the life of a choking puppy Sunday afternoon.

North Reading resident Megan Vitale ran into the police station with an acquaintance shortly after noontime Sunday, saying that her 9-week-old Saint Bernard puppy, Bodhi, was choking on food. When officers came around the corner and entered the lobby, they found the puppy was not breathing and was limp and unresponsive.

FIREFIGHTER Chris Hadley cuddles Bohdi while listening to his breathing as firefighter Herb Batchelder offers the 9-week-old puppy oxygen and Capt. Rick Nash observes. Quick action by police and fire first responders in the lobby of the police station saved the choking puppy. (Photo taken from NRPD surveillance image)

Officers Jorge Hernandez, Peter DiPietro and Joseph Aleo came around the window from the dispatch area and began to attend to the puppy. Assisted by North Reading firefighters, who arrived on scene moments later, the first responders administered back blows and chest compressions, ultimately dislodging the obstruction.

The dog was revived and provided with oxygen by firefighters in the lobby. The puppy left with its owners and was subsequently being treated by a veterinarian.

In a joint statement, Police Chief Michael P. Murphy and Fire Chief Don Stats both praised the quick thinking of officers and firefighters.

“Ultimately, a life was saved thanks to rescuers falling back on their training and remaining calm. Even though we are not faced with this kind of incident every day, the officers reacted just as they would in any emergency situation,” Chief Murphy said. “We are hopeful that the puppy will make a full recovery.”

North Reading firefighters used a special oxygen mask designed for pets. Over the past few years, the firefighters have received 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,” Chief Stats said. 

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