By Robert Mills
LOWELL -- After the Folk Festival quieted down for the night Saturday, a police officer and two EMTs were pressed into action to save a distressed puppy.
A police officer was flagged down and told that a man was dragging a puppy behind him on a leash Saturday night, shortly before 11:30. When the officer found the puppy at Market and Palmer streets, the animal was unconscious, lying on its side, with its eyes rolled back into its head.
The dog's owner, a 46-year-old Lowell man, appeared to be intoxicated, and told police the puppy was sleeping, according to a police report. Police said the dog, a shaggy Shepherd mix, was barely breathing.
Police and a pair of Trinity Ambulance EMTs, Jeff MacDonald and David Rousseaux, who were on bike patrol at the Lowell Folk Festival when police officers flagged them down, treated the puppy.
MacDonald said he has been an EMT and paramedic for about 10 years, but that he has never found himself in a situation quite like this.
"We're not trained for this at all," he said.
MacDonald said he and Rousseaux decided to treat the puppy as they would a toddler, since the puppy was small and would possibly have similar vital signs.
They determined the puppy was breathing and had a heartbeat, so they checked the puppy's ears and mucus membranes for signs of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
"We started giving it water," MacDonald said. "My partner was going to grab oxygen, but the other girl said she knew a vet and she said it wasn't his breathing, it was that he was dehydrated."
That woman was Lisa Millirons, of Lowell. Millirons pressed her ear to the puppy's chest to listen for breathing, checked the puppy's paws and continued giving the puppy water provided by staff at the Blue Shamrock at Market and Palmer streets.
The dog's owner continued telling police the puppy was OK, prompting a warning from officers to back up.
After about five minutes, Millirons announced the puppy had regained consciousness, which earned a round of cheers from those who had gathered around.
Millirons got a kiss from the puppy as she held him once he woke up.
She declined to comment much as she held the puppy, but said she knew what to do because of her veterinarian friend.
MacDonald said he might read up on basic care for animals now, just in case a similar situation arises again. The closest situation he has found himself in was when he found a malnourished dog while conducting a well-being check.
"We were just doing our jobs," MacDonald said. "I'm glad the dog is alive."
Police said the dog's owner will be summonsed to Lowell District Court to face a count of animal cruelty. Since the owner was not arrested or booked, police would not release his name before he appears in court.
An animal-control officer was called in to take the puppy and care for it. It was not immediately clear where animal control took the puppy.
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