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Tiny chihuahua rescued from home heating system

CLEVELAND – Body camera video shows Cleveland police officers and firefighters saving a 4-pound chihuahua after an accident inside a home.

Liz Toth called for help after her precious dog, Dexter, fell into the ductwork of her home heating system.

“Panic. Sheer panic. You have no idea. Of course, my little dog is like my child,” was how Toth described her reaction to WJW.

Video shows the emergency crews quickly went to work in the basement, opening some of the ductwork. One firefighter can be heard asking, “Where’d he get in at?” Someone else answers, “Upstairs. Fell through.”

Toth said painters had been working in the home, and they left a vent uncovered.

She added, “Dexie” fell in. “And then all of a sudden, I hear the pitter-patter of his little feet. I was like, if we have to wreck the whole basement, it’s gonna look like World War 5. I don’t care.”

The video shows a firefighter spotted the dog but couldn’t reach him. Toth can then be seen moving into the picture, calling the dog, trying to coax him out.

After agonizing minutes ticked by, the dog finally scrambled out of the ductwork and into the arms of a very relieved pet owner.

It's not uncommon for Cleveland firefighters to get calls for pet emergencies. Those calls are handled on a case-by-case basis. Whether or not they rush to pet rescue can depend, in part, on what else is happening, and on the risk of that call to firefighters.

Dexter came out a little dirty, but unhurt. He now sits getting pampered in the home thanks to some of Cleveland’s finest.

Liz Toth has a message for the safety forces, "I'm just very, very grateful. You guys don't get enough ‘thank you's’."

Meantime, firefighters want to remind everyone to remember their pets when thinking about emergency escape plans at home. And firefighters say don’t ever run back into a burning building after a pet.