Four feet on road to recovery

Four feet on road to recovery

When patrol dog Kosmo started being annoying again, handler Constable Regan Turner knew he was on the road to recovery.

Kosmo made headlines around the world after being stabbed in the throat – and left lost in the dark and close to bleeding to death near Kaiapoi, Canterbury - while pursuing a suspect.

Kosmo close up

Kosmo will get a gentle re-entry to work.

It took first aid at the scene, a Westpac helicopter flight, an escorted ambulance ride through Christchurch to a 24-hour vet and an emergency transfusion of blood from patrol dog colleague Oz to save him.

After two days at the vet hospital, the four-year-old German shepherd was well enough to recuperate at home – with indoor privileges including lying in front of the fire.

“When I got him home he was drained, and had no energy,” says Regan. “I’d never actually seen him sleep before, but he could hardly move.

“He enjoyed being in front of the fire, enjoyed sitting on the mat, enjoyed scooping up anything my son dropped out of his high chair. He was the perfect pet dog. He caused no commotion.”

By a week after the stabbing, with daily two-hour round trips to the vet, Kosmo – Regan’s first operational dog - was back to something like his boisterous best and indoor privileges were revoked.

“He outstayed his welcome in the lounge,” says Regan. “He’s now back to being a police dog in the kennel outside.”

It is thought Kosmo may be back at work next week. “We’ll get him back into it but we won’t throw him straight back out there,” says Regan.

“We’ll do some training and make it enjoyable for him. He’ll probably have a couple of tests to make sure he’s up to it.”

Regan says the support from his colleagues was amazing, from Sergeant Alastair Sim performing first aid at the scene and Sergeant Tim Yates facilitating the vet response in the city, to off-duty colleagues turning out in solidarity.

“Everyone from the section got a phone call at home and turned up,” says Regan. “I arrived at the vet and there were three or four of them there. A couple of others were at the scene looking for the knife.

Oz

Constable Craig Moore and Oz.

“It’s awesome that when the chips were down, everyone jumped in. We’re a tight specialist unit and it was ‘one in, all in’.

“We’ve got people here with 30 years’ experience who’ve seen it all. Having guys like that around was a real help.”

Regan says he is grateful for the help of all involved in saving Kosmo on the night, including other Police staff, the teams from Westpac and St John Ambulance and the emergency vets.

Special mention goes to Oz, Police’s 2017 national patrol dog champion, who was back at work within days of the life-saving transfusion.

“They put him under so he was a bit quiet for a couple of days,” says handler Constable Craig Moore. “But he loves a pig’s ear so he got one of those, and a few cuddles from dad.”

Regan and Kosmo – who is now known as ‘OzMo’ in the squad - have been showered with messages from wellwishers.