The Wanganui firefighter who resuscitated a puppy rescued from a burning house says he did not think twice before blowing oxygen through the dog's nose.
Sixteen-week-old pitbull cross-terrier Missy was barely alive when Wanganui station officer Gary Wilson scooped her up from the floor of a bedroom in a burning Plymouth Street home on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr Wilson used his hand to make a funnel at the pup's snout and gave her "mouth-to-nose" resuscitation.
"It's just a natural reaction," he said. "Of course, the owners were standing out the front as well. You have to make an attempt - it's just an instinct to get fresh air into it."
The 1920s wooden cottage was gutted by the fire.
Missy was given oxygen at the scene before being rushed to a veterinarian clinic four doors away.
Wanganui Veterinary Services Peter Verhoek said Missy was put in an oxygen tent and she began to breathe all right. A close eye was kept on the pup overnight before she was allowed home yesterday afternoon.
"She recovered reasonably quickly from the smoke inhalation. She's been chipper as - it's been great," Mr Verhoek said.
"Her owners were pretty distraught yesterday, but today she's on her feet, eating, wagging her tail ... just like a normal pup."
Mr Wilson said firefighters were told there was a dog in the house, but had thought Missy was dead before she was picked up from the bedroom floor.
"We expected it to be dead with the heat. But it was down low, laying on the floor - there's normally a certain amount of fresh air at that level.
"Another guy scooped it up off the floor and passed it to me and, as that happened, it sort of twitched and we knew it was still alive." Mr Wilson said it was a natural instinct to perform CPR on anything that was struggling to breathe.
"Just like you would with a person, really - except I didn't put my lips around.
"A lot of people would do the same, and we've done it before with dogs and cats.
"For a lot of people, it's their life companion, so they're important. Part of our training is all about protecting and saving life and then worrying about property. You just do it - the instinct is to save anything."
Mr Wilson is the owner of Baxter, a schnauzer, and has always had dogs. He was pleased to hear Missy was alive and doing well.