Smokey the dog is now staying at a local shelter, waiting to be adopted

By Kelli Bender
January 26, 2018 05:03 PM

Smokey the dog might have nine lives, too.

The canine was found stuck in a burning building in Atlanta by two police officers, who went on to save the dog’s life.

According to, Officers Robert Winkler and Austin Denninger of the Atlanta Police Department responded to a call about a fire at a vacant apartment building and went into the burning structure to make sure no one was caught inside.

What they found was a dog in desperate need of help.

“At first I didn’t realize what it was, but then I saw it was a dog,” Winkler told the NBC affiliate. “I just saw this one little paw, this kick. And I thought, ‘Oh no, that’s not good.’ ”

The heroic rescue was caught on the officers’ bodycams. The footage shows Winkler grabbing the dog by the collar and scooping Smokey up in to his arms.

Unconscious and without an owner, things didn’t look good for Smokey, but after a few minutes of attention from Denninger and Winkler, the pooch awakened.

“When it finally started to come to and it caught its breath, it was breathtaking for me,” Denninger said. “As an officer, it’s our job, and I think that any officer would do the same thing.”

After ensuring the canine was okay, the officers searched for Smokey’s owner. Someone in the area of the fire told the pair that he often spotted the dog being pushed in a baby carriage by a man who never left the pup’s side. Unfortunately, the officers were not able to find this man or any information on Smokey to lead them to this alleged owner.

For now, Smokey, who didn’t sustain any serious injuries from the blaze, is at Fulton County Animal Control awaiting a fresh start with a new forever family.

Officers Winkler and Denninger are back at work, but have been enjoying some newfound fame as well. After the Atlanta Police Department posted the bodycam footage of the rescue on the department’s Facebook, many have been reaching out to the heroes to thank them for protecting and serving all of the area’s residents, canines included.

“People do heroic things, awesome things all the time, and to see this big of a reaction was really cool. It’s having the worst day of its life and if you can do something to negate that bad ending, you gotta do it. If I could save goldfish, I would,” Winkler said.