BTBuzz: Atlanta police officers rescue dog from burning building, administer CPR

By Claire Coleman

Atlanta police officers never leave a man behind, even one with four legs.

On the night of Jan. 7, Officer Robert Winkler was one of a few officers who worked to save a dog from a burning building. His body camera captured the entire scene. “The last thing you want is that this dog is going to die right in front of me,” Winkler told Today.com. “It’s a really low feeling, so you have to do something. You can’t just stand by.”

Officer Austin Denninger stepped in next, carrying the seemingly unconscious dog across the street. Officers quickly administered CPR, adapting the techniques they have been trained to use on humans. And it worked: The dog woke up and began to breathe.

“Our officers are trained to help and 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,” said Sgt. John Chafee, spokesperson for the Atlanta Police Department.

Officers chose the name Smokey for the pup, and are happy to report he is doing well. He will need heart worm treatment, which the shelter will pay for even after Smokey is adopted.

Although the officers aren’t sure what his life was like before his rescue, they believe Smokey is around 3 years old. He is currently up for adoption from Fulton County Animal Services. But the very officers who saved Smokey might beat others to it. Both Winkler and Denninger say they have thought of visiting the shelter to adopt Smokey.

But most of all, the officers have been surprised by all the attention they’ve received for saving a dog’s life.

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