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Dramatic video shows Florida doctor saving dog as leash is caught in moving elevator

Dr. Mohammad Awad said he had seconds to spare when he saw the elevator doors close, catching the leash and sending the animal up in the air.

Two days before the world rang in the new year, a Florida doctor may have given a dog a new lease on life after its leash got caught in a moving elevator.

The incident happened Sunday as Dr. Mohammad Awad was coming home and saw a woman and the dog in the lobby in front of the elevator at Olympus Harbour Island Apartments in Tampa.

Video shows that the dog's leash was caught in the doors as the elevator moved, causing the animal to be lifted off the ground.

"I dropped all my food on the ground. I tried to break the leash open as hard as I can — I tried, I tried, I tried," Awad told NBC affiliate WFLA of Tampa. "You can see in the video: The first time, I couldn't do it, it was just too hard."

But a further attempt freed the dog and sent Awad tumbling to the floor. As the animal was trapped, he said, it appeared to be "gasping for air."

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Awad said he got off his last shift and had stopped by his parents' house to get some dinner and was coming home when he saw the woman and the dog walk off the elevator. He said that he saw the doors close and that the leash seemed tight.

"In one or two seconds, I already knew what was going to happen," Awad said. "Right when that happened, the dog launched into the air, literally."

After the rescue, he said, the dog was shaking and the owner was distraught and was very thankful for the safe outcome.

"I'm only a human physician, but I went to go assess the dog and examined it, and the dog seemed OK," Awad, a doctor of internal medicine, told WFLA. "But it was just a crazy situation."

The rescue occurred just weeks after a similarly scary scene unfolded in Houston, where a man saved a Pomeranian whose leash had also been caught in elevator doors.

In that case, the owner was inside the elevator with the dog outside as the doors closed. Johnny Mathis, 27, sprang into action and was able to get the collar off and save the dog. He said he was able to get the leash off "just in time."