As Andrew Klein worked with 22 other firefighters to put out a blaze in a Santa Monica, Calif., apartment Tuesday, he discovered an unconscious Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu mix.
“As soon as I grabbed him, I knew that he was unresponsive just by his dead weight,” Klein told KTLA. He carried the lifeless 10-year-old dog, named Nalu, outside.
Nalu wasn’t breathing and had no pulse, so Klein began performing CPR and mouth-to-snout resuscitation on him — for 20 minutes, until the dog was finally revived. Klein then provided Nalu with oxygen using a pet-sized mask.
Nalu’s owner, Crystal Lamirande, came home to find her apartment on fire. She tried to save Nalu herself, but the smoke was too thick. She told KTLA she stood there in shock as Klein worked to save her dog’s life. “I’m a nurse, and now I know how family members feel when they watch us do CPR on their family members,” she said. “It’s awful.”
The firefighters were able to put out the blaze in about 10 minutes, KTLA reports. No one besides Nalu was injured.
“It was pretty amazing, because I’ve been on a number of animal rescues like this that did not come out the same way that Nalu’s story did,” Klein told KTLA. He’d only performed mouth-to-snout resuscitation a few times in his career. “It was definitely a win for the whole team and the department that we got him back.”
Lamirande said she lost everything in the fire, with one important exception: her best friend Nalu, thanks to Klein’s heroic efforts. She brought Nalu to the fire station Thursday to thank him again for saving her dog’s life.
“Our goal is to save people, and sometimes we’re not able to do that despite our best efforts,” Klein told KABC. “But to have a success story just like this, even with Nalu being a dog, he’s a life and a life that matters. That was just a great morale booster for all of the guys here in our department.”
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