By Ken MacLeod

LYNN (CBS) – O.P. Miller is a fledgling fantasy writer turned real-life dog saver. “It’s not really as big a deal to me as it seems like it is to everybody else,” he says.

But it’s certainly a big deal to Jodi Saladino. “I honestly thought Lucy was going to die,” she says.

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She’s talking about her four year old German shepherd “Lucy”, beloved by Jodi’s children Erin and Kyle, who nearly watched their pet killed before their eyes on Friday afternoon at the corner of Magnolia and Conomo Avenues in Lynn.

Saldino and her kids were returning from a neighborhood park when her son spotted a pit bull charging at them. It went straight for Lucy, clamping its powerful jaws around her throat.

Erin and Kyle with Lucy the German shepherd (Family Photo)

“The fear in the little girl’s eyes just made me react to be honest with you,” Miller says. Miller was driving by — on his way to the gym – when he saw Saladino struggling to free her dog, as daughter Erin sobbed.

“She was screaming ‘Help us! Help us! Help us!’” Miller says. “She was just hysterical.”

O.P. Miller (WBZ-TV)

“He didn’t think twice,” says Saladino. “He saw Erin crying, jumped out, and did everything he could to protect my family and my dog. I can’t thank him enough for that.”

Indeed, Miller slammed on the brakes and spent three minutes prying the pit bull’s jaws from Lucy’s neck, holding the dog until police arrived – even after it bit his hand. Miller underwent rabies shots over the weekend.

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Pit bull that attacked German shepherd in Lynn (Courtesy Photo)

“At first I was thinking ‘I can’t believe no one is stopping,’” says a grateful Saladino. “But then once he did I said ‘Oh my God I can’t believe he stopped to help us.’”

Authorities have not yet decided what to do about the pit bull that somehow escaped its owner’s house. That owner told police the dog is never aggressive with humans – only other dogs.

Lucy was attacked by a pit bull in Lynn (WBZ-TV)

After the attack, Miller says it began licking his face. “One minute he was fighting to the death,” says Miller, “and the next minute he was completely calm.”

As for Lucy the German shepherd – she’s fine.

“I’d do it again,” Miller says in a matter-of-fact tone.

“It was amazing!” says a smiling Saladino.

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O.P. Miller has now returned to his fantasy poems – but the real life image of a little girl remains. “I can’t get her face out of mind,” he says.”

Ken MacLeod