By Ella Prendergast and Thomas Mead
A police dog left to die after having his throat slashed was spared when a fellow service canine gave a third of his own blood to save the pooch’s life.
New Zealand Police operational patrol dog Kosmo was discovered lying in a pool of blood after being stabbed in the neck in Kaiapoi, Christchurch at 6.30pm on Thursday [May 31] night.
The four-year-old Alsatian was responding to a family harm incident with handler Constable Regan Turner and had been tracking an alleged offender through rural land when he stopped returning to calls.
Kosmo, who has attended thousands of crimes in his two years on the job, received a 1.5 inch (4cm) cut to the jugular vein in his throat, which narrowly missed his carotid artery.
When Const Turner discovered his four-legged companion in the darkness 25 minutes later, the pooch had already gone into shock from blood loss.
Const Turner, who stars in the current series of NZ police dog documentary Dog Squad with Kosmo, said: “I thought he was going to die.
“It’s not a feeling I want to experience again.
“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.
“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.”
Upon finding Kosmo, Const Turner said he immediately “jammed [his] thumb in the hole in his throat” to stem the bleeding.
The pup was airlifted to a 24-hour vet in Christchurch by rescue helicopter, where fellow police dog Oza donated 550ml – nearly a third of his blood – in a life-saving transfusion.
Const Turner said: “I can’t thank the boys in the big bird enough for their quick response.
“If it wasn’t for [the Westpac Rescue Helicopter] we probably wouldn’t be having this conversation.”
On hearing the news of Kosmo’s injury, Oza’s handler Constable Craig Moore headed into Christchurch where “Oza stepped up and helped out”.
Const Moore said: “Oza was happy to help.
“He is a bit jaded, but will be back to normal in a week.”
Kosmo is now set to have a few weeks off to recover, but Const Turner said the “usually very boisterous and licky” pooch was planning to milk the attention and was feeling “a bit sorry for himself”.
In a statement released by New Zealand Police, he added: “Kosmo’s saved me on a few occasions and I can’t thank him enough for what he did.
“It was either him or me, unfortunately.”
Joshua Luke Cooper, 29, has been charged with intentionally wounding Kosmo.
He was remanded in custody and will reappear in the Christchurch District Court on June 18.