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Dramatic video shows officers save a choking puppy in North Reading

North Reading First Responders Save Choking Puppy
North Reading First Responders Save Choking Puppy

A 9-week-old choking puppy was unresponsive when it was rushed into North Reading’s police station on Sunday, but officers were able to save its life after a dramatic 10-minute struggle that was captured on video.

The distressed owner, North Reading resident Megan Vitale, and her friend ran into the station with the Saint Bernard puppy shortly after 12 p.m., police said in a statement. A visibly panicked and upset Vitale said that the dog was choking on its food, and officers who came into the lobby to help found the pup was limp and not breathing.

The officers — identified as Jorge Hernandez, Peter DiPetro, and Joseph Aleo — along with North Reading firefighters, administered back blows and chest compressions for nearly 10 minutes until the food was finally dislodged. The puppy was also given oxygen by firefighters in the lobby, using a special mask designed for pets.


The puppy, named Bodhi, left with its owner and was taken to a veterinarian for treatment, police said.

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

“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 North Reading Fire Chief Don Stats in the statement.

Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laney.ruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.