Authorities in Massachusetts are being recognized for their heroic work on Sunday to save the life of a 9-week-old puppy who was choking on his food in a dramatic rescue captured on surveillance video.

The North Reading Police Department said in a news release that resident Megan Vitale ran into the police station shortly after noon, saying her Saint Bernard pup named Bodhi was choking on food while pleading for help.

When officers came around the corner, they found the puppy was not breathing and “limp and unresponsive.”

“He was just kind of limp basically, and had a lot of foam in his mouth,” Officer Jorge Hernandez told Boston 25 News. “I put the dog down on the floor and I mean my whole hands pretty much wrapped around him and I just started kind of pumping away at his chest.”

The officers were then joined by North Reading firefighters, who administered back blows and chest compressions, until they were able to dislodge the obstruction. In the video, rescuers can be seen working to save the pup as an emotional Vitale is seen looking on.

Puppy Rescue

The terrifying moment as rescuers work to save the life of a 9-week-old puppy that was choking.

 (North Reading Police Department)

Bodhi was eventually revived and given oxygen by firefighters in the lobby of the police station, located about 17 miles north of Boston.


“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 Michael P. Murphy in a statement. “We are hopeful that the puppy will make a full recovery.”

Fire officials said they used a special mask designed for pets, and have received specialized training in the recent years in how to respond to emergencies involving pets.

“Many of our firefighters have pets at home in their own families,” Fire Chief Don Stats said. “We do not get to choose the emergency situation that comes our way, so it is important that first responders be prepared for anything.”

Travis Fedschun is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter @travfed