Riki, an 8-year-old German shepherd, right, is credited with saving the life of 19-month-old shih tzu Cocomo, held by Folcroft police Officer Gene Mackey.

FOLCROFT It is not uncommon for a police dog to be recognized for assisting an officer with an arrest or other in-the-line-of duty work.

But Riki, an 8-year-old German shepherd, handled by borough police Officer Eugene Mackey, recently went above and beyond the call of duty when he saved the life of a fellow canine.

Cocomo, a 19-month-old shih tzu, owned by borough residents Albert and Dottie Feudo, became seriously ill in early April. The pup could not keep food or water down, had severe diarrhea and was extremely lethargic.

The Feudos took Cocomo to the Stoney Creek Veterinary Hospital in Morton where she was originally diagnosed and treated for gastritis and a bowel infection.

Within 24 hours, Cocomo's condition deteriorated to a point where she was rushed back to the veterinary hospital for further testing.

"We were so frightened," said Dottie Feudo. "Additional tests showed a serious bowel obstruction and the next thing we knew, Cocomo was on the operating table fighting for her life."

During the surgery, Dr. Jennifer Johnson determined Cocomo's life was in danger because of an enormous loss of blood and dangerously low protein levels. Cocomo also had a nearly 5-inch area of necrotic bowel tissue coupled with acute inflammation.

"It was obvious that without fresh blood, Cocomo would not survive," said Johnson. "She needed something drastic and immediate."

It was then that Stoney Creek veterinary technician Kaitlyn Mackey, the sister of Officer Mackey, sprung into action.

"My sister called and told me about Cocomo," Mackey said. "So I immediately rushed Riki to the hospital and he donated a pint of blood, which eventually saved the life of the puppy. The entire situation is just unbelievable and Riki and I were really glad to be able to help."

Watching little Cocomo romp and play with her grateful owners makes it almost impossible to believe that a mere eight weeks ago, she was so desperately ill.

At a recent Folcroft Borough Council meeting, the Feudos were on hand to publicly thank Mackey and Riki for helping to save the life of their beloved pet.

"This is a small town community and I just love our police force and always have," said Feudo. "I have a special bond with officer Mackey and now Cocomo has a big blood brother in Riki.

"My husband and I are grateful beyond words to Dr. Johnson and everyone involved. You know, before the blood transfusion, Cocomo almost never barked. But now she won't stop. And her bark is big, loud and booming just like that of her older brother."