A Rotorua District Council animal control officer went beyond the call of duty this week when he brought a stray puppy back to life with mouth-to-muzzle resuscitation.
Animal welfare inspector Andy Hope saved the Labrador's life by administering resuscitation to the unresponsive puppy on Tuesday.
Hope said he had earlier picked up the eight-week-old Labrador found roaming in Western Heights and delivered it to the council's pound on State Highway 30.
"On Tuesday I got a frantic call from animal control officer Michelle Atkins at the pound saying she'd found the puppy choking after he'd been given his afternoon feed.
"I went straight to the pound and tried to clear the puppy's airway by putting my fingers down his throat. When this didn't work I tried the Heimlich manoeuvre without any luck. So I put him in the van to get him to the vet as quickly as I could.
"By the time we got to Malfroy Rd he wasn't breathing so I gave him mouth-to-mouth when we stopped at the traffic lights and shortly after he started breathing again."
The puppy was given oxygen and steroids at the vet's clinic but it was unclear what had caused it to stop breathing.
"We didn't know if it was a bee sting or something like food trapped in his airway. However he's now got a wheezy little cough so it appears food is stuck in his throat," said Hope.
Hope has named the puppy Benson, after Benson & Hedges cigarettes, due to his "smoker's cough".
The black Labrador puppy is currently on antibiotics and, along with many other dogs at the pound, requires re-homing.