An Anchorage police officer and his partner are sharing a story of survival after a weekend chase -- but the hero of this tale has four legs.
MP is one of seven patrol dogs for the Anchorage Police Department. The 7-year-old canine was stabbed at least three times while apprehending a suspect on the run.
Early Saturday morning, police received a report of a man assaulting another person with a machete in Mountain View. When the suspect fled the scene MP’s handler, Officer Nathan Keays, sent the dog after 37-year-old Nole Hommerding.
“When I ran up I could see that he was stabbing MP on the top of the head and in the neck with a knife, a pocket knife,” said Keays.
Although MP was stabbed at least three times, the dog didn’t go down without a fight.
“The dog was apprehending him the whole time, the dog didn’t give up,” Keays said.
If MP hadn't been there, Keays -- who suffered scratches to his hands in the pursuit -- said APD may have used a higher level of force during the call. In a worst-case scenario, he says Hommerding may have gotten away and assaulted someone else.
MP underwent surgery and was later sent home. Since then, Keays says the dog is getting better every day.
“His spirits are up, he wants to go back to work,” Keays said. “He’s excited.”
Keays says the bond he shares with MP makes their partnership go beyond the workplace.
“We do drills at work -- we’re in high-stress situations, and then we go home and he’s at home with me,” Keays said. “We’re cooking dinner and he’s playing with the kids and we go back to work, so he sees me more than anybody else.”
MP sat out of training drills on Monday with fellow K-9s due to his injuries, but Keays says the Belgian Malinois will be back in the line of duty in the next few weeks. Until then, Keays says MP is on a special diet of French fries and ice cream to help heal from Saturday's injuries.
“He’s getting a little spoiled right now,” Keays said.
MP has been by Keays' side for almost six years now. While APD had already planned to retire the K-9 in September, that doesn’t mean the partners will separate -- Keays plans on adopting MP when retirement comes.
Hommerding is being charged with harming a police dog, a felony since the dog suffered serious injuries.
The department plans on testing MP to see if the attack shook him up or weakened his nerves before he gets back out on the field.
Meanwhile, Hommerding is one of five people MP has apprehended during a storied K-9 career. Keays said MP has also tracked about 60 people leading to more than 200 charges.