Berlin firefighters save dog from nearly suffocating

It was a terrifying situation for a South Jersey couple. On their way back from a puppy training class, their four-legged friend got caught in her cage. She was rescued all thanks to some fast-thinking firefighters who rushed to their aid.

Ava, an English cream golden retriever, is training to become a therapy dog. She already serves as a comfort dog to her owner.

On the way home from class Saturday morning, Ava was asleep but then something happened Debbie Mazza will never forget. 

"She just let out the most excruciating scream. I can't there's no words to describe that scream. I still hear it in my sleep,"  Mazza told FOX 29.

Berlin Fire Chief Mike Kernan, Lieutenant Chris Lattanzi and OEM coordinator Rushi Pandya, all volunteers, just happened to be minutes away in the midst of a busy Saturday. They rushed to Mazza who was pulled over near Berlin Park.  Ava was going in and out of consciousness.

Lt. Lattanzi says he noticed Ava's collar was stuck. He cut that free with a knife while the others disassembled the cage and they were able to pull her paw out to safety.

On Tuesday, Mazza went to the firehouse to bring them dinner. A token of gratitude but she says what they did for her is something she will never be able to fully repay.

"You walked in that door and you became a family here," Mazza said.