A police officer has told of the gut-churning moment he found his patrol dog lying in a pool of blood after he was stabbed in the neck in Christchurch on Thursday night.
"I thought he was going to die," Constable Regan Turner told Newshub. "It's not a feeling I want to experience again."
Const Turner was responding to a Kaiapoi family harm incident with Kosmo, a four-year-old operational patrol dog, when his four-legged companion stopped responding to calls.
"Because it was dark and we couldn't see, I'd run back and forth past him a couple of times where he was tucked up.
"It would have been a hard pill to swallow if we'd found him in the daylight and I'd been right there beside him."
- Canterbury police dog gets life-saving blood transfusion after being stabbed
- Slain police dogs honoured in new memorial
When Const Turner did discover Kosmo, who has gone to thousands of jobs across the city in his two years on the job, he had already gone into shock.
"Despite me calling his name and trying to get him back to me, he just didn't have enough energy to move. They tell me if we found him a little bit later it probably wouldn't be the same outcome. That was my first fear really."
Kosmo received a four-centimetre cut to the throat, narrowly missing his carotid artery. The offender has since been taken into custody.
Upon finding Kosmo, Const Turner says he immediately "jammed [his] thumb in the hole in his throat" to stem the bleeding. He can't thank "the boys in the big bird" enough for their quick response, he told Newshub.
"If it wasn't for [the Westpac Rescue Helicopter] we probably wouldn't be having this conversation."
They aren't the only heroes. Oza, a fellow police dog, gave nearly a third of his blood - 550ml - to save Kosmo's life.
After hearing the news, Oza's handler, Constable Craig Moore, headed into town where "Oza stepped up and helped out", he told Newshub.
"He was happy to help."
Oze is "a bit jaded", Const Moore says, but will be back to normal in a week.
As for Kosmo, he'll have a few weeks off to recover, but Const Turner "thinks he's gonna milk it".
"He's a bit sorry for himself. He's not usually like this - he's usually very boisterous and licky," Cosnt Turner says.
Joshua Luke Cooper, 29, has been charged with intentionally wounding Kosmo. He's been remanded in custody and will reappear in the Christchurch District Court on June 18.