The handler of a police dog who was shot in the jaw during an incident in Northland yesterday is "with him the whole time" and has never left his side, a veterinary staff member working on the dog said.
Advanced Veterinary Care's Dr Alastair Coomer told 1 NEWS the dog is in a "serious but stable condition".
“He’s stable in hospital, he’s comfortable but he’s certainly not out of the woods,” he said.
The dog was shot after after police confronted an armed man in Tangowahine, a small town around 12km northeast of Dargaville.
The man was then shot by police, after which the pair were transported in separate helicopters to the Auckland region for treatment.
Coomer said his handler "was with him the whole time" following the incident.
"His handler never left," he said. "He's here, arguably, more often than I am at his bedside."
No operations have been carried out at the hospital at this stage, with vets currently working to stabilise the dog.
Coomer said his injuries are “severe,” with the injuries located around his face and head.
The dog has a team of vets and nurses “working around the clock” to treat him, adding that he “has lost a lot of blood”. Staff are also working to ensure his airways are not obstructed, allowing him to breathe, and that he remains conscious.
“He’s got extensive injuries to his face, and most of those are now no longer life-threatening but they’ll take some time and a bit of work to come out,” he said.
It’s expected to take “another 48 hours” before the dog will be stable enough for surgery.
“We have to take it hour by hour and then day by day and we’re really thrilled with the first hour of his care - I can’t stress that enough, the care that he received to get to us. It was outstanding, and so we’re taking our care hour by hour.
“I would hope that by tomorrow, he’s in a more stable condition again and that his trend is in the right direction.”