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Dramatic bodycam video shows dog's rescue from burning building

by Arin Greenwood / / Source: TODAY
APD officers save dog from apartment fire / Facebook

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Watch these Atlanta police officers rescue a dog from a burning building.

Then go hug your dog (if that's your dog's thing). And please, learn pet CPR.

This rescue took place on the night of Jan. 7.

Officer Robert Winkler, whose body camera caught the heroic scene, pulled the dog out of the burning building.

Officer Austin Denninger carried the seemingly unconscious dog across the street, where the officers administered CPR, quickly adapting the lifesaving techniques they have been trained to use on humans. It worked; the dog woke up and began to breathe.

“When it finally started to come to and it caught its breath, it was breathtaking for me,” Denniger told news station WMAZ, one of many media outlets to cover this story.

“The last thing you want is that this dog is going to die right in front of me,” Winkler said. “It's a really low feeling, so you have to do something. You can't just stand by."

In an email to TODAY, Sergeant John Chafee, spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department, said the organization is "extremely proud of everyone involved" with rescuing the dog.

"Our officers are trained to help and to save lives. Most of the time we see this play out with officers working to save a person’s life, but in this case our officers saw an animal in need and acted to help," he said.

Just over two weeks later, the dog is doing well. He has been named Smokey, and Smokey is up for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services.

"He still has a bit of a cough, maybe from the smoke, but otherwise he is in good health," said Karen Hirsch, spokesperson for LifeLine Animal Project, the nonprofit that runs the Fulton County shelter.

It's hard to know what Smokey's life was like before his rescue. Hirsch said there's been talk that he might have been the companion to a homeless person, but no one has come forward, and efforts to find that person have been unsuccessful.

Smokey is thought to be about 3 years old. He loves to play, and enjoys being around people (though he isn't "super cuddly," Hirsch said). He will need heartworm treatment, which the shelter will pay for even once Smokey is adopted.

Let's be optimistic here: This is Smokey's adoption listing, with information about how to get in touch with the shelter if you'd like to bring this good and deserving boy home.

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But, you may have to get in line — and possibly behind the very police officers who saved Smokey. They told WMAZ they've both thought of heading over to the shelter to adopt the animal (Winkler said he's allergic, but he also mentioned being familiar with Benadryl).

They also said they're surprised by all the attention they're getting for saving a dog's life, when saving him was of course what they would naturally do.

“People do heroic things, awesome things all the time, and to see this big of a reaction was really cool. It’s having the worst day of its life and if you can do something to negate that bad ending, you gotta do it. If I could save goldfish, I would,” Winkler said.

“As an officer, it's our job, and I think that any officer would do the same thing,” said Denniger.

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