Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

St. Petersburg police officer's kindness to dying dog impresses resident

St. Petersburg Officer Chrisie Lopez loves dogs, especially her “two spoiled-rotten kids,” beagle Nene and mix Gigi.


St. Petersburg Officer Chrisie Lopez loves dogs, especially her “two spoiled-rotten kids,” beagle Nene and mix Gigi.


The red-nosed American pit bull terrier, Achilles, lay on the floor of his master's hallway, bleeding and slowly dying. A home burglar had shot the dog twice, in the left eye and left leg. The first officer on the scene attended to finding the thief while the dog's owner, Louis Russell, paced the driveway. He wanted to recover his valuables and help find the culprit, but he was also worried. His buddy needed help fast. The second officer at the Iris Street home that morning in early November headed straight for the white dog with the brown splotch on his head. Like Russell, St. Petersburg police Officer Chrisie Lopez is an animal lover.

Lopez, 30, who drives a patrol car in District 2, the north district, is the kind of cop who takes in stray dogs. She keeps dog biscuits and spare leashes in her trunk. Other officers know she has a way with animals, especially dogs. Her dream is to be a canine officer.

Dispatchers hadn't summoned her to Russell's home that morning. But Lopez wasn't busy, Russell's home wasn't far and Lopez heard the radio squawk about a wounded canine.

When she got out of her car on the 4100 block of Iris Street N, "she pretty much went straight for my dog," Russell said.

Inside the home, the 80-pound dog was stiff. His chest heaved. Blood was down the hallway and even up on the ceiling.

Russell told Lopez he'd called the county's animal services agency for assistance. But the seven-year police veteran knew one of their units might take too long to arrive.

She told Russell that she was once a veterinary technician. She could see when a dog was dying, and Achilles still had plenty of fight in him.

"He was suffering, but he was breathing pretty well," Lopez said. "I told him if he wanted to get medical attention for the dog … put him in the back passenger seat of my car."

Russell promptly did. Lopez didn't put on her siren because it was a straight shot up 16th Street to Noah's Place Animal Medical Center. Achilles whined faintly in the back seat. In minutes, she was helping veterinarians carry him into the emergency room. He was immediately put on a machine to help him breathe.

Lopez went back to work, but returned to the clinic a few hours later as her shift ended to deliver a $100 check toward the bill.

"I wanted so bad to help out that dog," she said. She knew Russell could use the funds.

She learned that the dog was in so much shock and lost so much blood that veterinarians never began to operate.

Later that afternoon, Russell got a call from the clinic. They were advising him to pull the plug, which he did because he didn't want to see his dog suffer. Achilles was 5 years old.

• • •

The thief who broke into Russell's home has not been found, and the sweet-natured dog Russell raised from a pup is gone. Russell and his girlfriend have moved and now have an English bulldog named Mayhem.

Russell thinks often of the police officer who impressed him that November morning.

"She didn't have to do that," Russell said. "I am very thankful for what she did to try to save my dog."

St. Petersburg police officer's kindness to dying dog impresses resident 12/04/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 4, 2010 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Tributes pour in for ex-national security adviser Brzezinski


    WASHINGTON — Well before he went to the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter was impressed by the views of foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski. That Carter immediately liked the Polish-born academic advising his campaign was a plus.

    Foreign policy expert Zbigniew Brzezinski died Friday.
  2. One year after deaths, Sunset Music Festival kicks off with emphasis on water and security

    Public Safety

    TAMPA — Before the beat drops, or even builds, you hear Steve-O.

    "If you don't get water you're lame!"

    "Hey! Free water! Come on!"

    Steve "Steve-O" Raymond motions to guests making the line to grab free water bottle at the entrance of the Sunset Music Festival on the grounds of the Raymond James Stadium parking lot in Tampa. ( LUIS SANTANA   |   Times)
  3. Twins eventually cash in as Rays lose, fall back to .500 (w/video)

    The Heater

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Rays could only battle their way out of trouble for so long Saturday afternoon before succumbing in a 5-2 loss to the Twins.

    MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 27: Brian Dozier #2 of the Minnesota Twins celebrates hitting a two-run home run as Derek Norris #33 of the Tampa Bay Rays looks on during the eighth inning of the game on May 27, 2017 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Twins defeated the Rays 5-3. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) 700010973
  4. Rays Tales: The stories behind Corey Dickerson's ascension

    The Heater

    The 25 pounds DH/LF Corey Dickerson lost during the winter through diet and exercise are considered the primary reason for his ascension to one of the American League's most productive hitters, going into the weekend leading in hits, multi-hit games and total bases, and ranked in the top five in average, runs and …

    Tampa Bay Rays designated hitter Corey Dickerson (10) connects for a sac fly, scores Tampa Bay Rays first baseman Steve Pearce (28) in the fourth inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, June 15, 2016.
  5. Fans in Florida and beyond won't forget Gregg Allman

    Music & Concerts

    The end can come quickly for those who live fast and live hard, who create worlds with their talent and sometimes come close to throwing them away.

    This Oct. 13, 2011 file photo shows Gregg Allman performs at the Americana Music Association awards show in Nashville, Tenn. On Saturday, May 27, 2017, a publicist said the musician, the singer for The Allman Brothers Band, has died. (AP Photo/Joe Howell, File)