LAKELAND (FOX 13) - Today, he's acting like a happy, healthy pup. But if you look a little harder, wounds show how close Lakeland police K9 'Hyde' came to death.
Friday night, Hyde and his handler, Officer Jeremy Williams, were dispatched to chase down a suspect. Reuben Smith, 42, was accused of choking a woman at a Lakeland hotel with a dog leash, and then taking off with police close behind.
Investigators say Smith crashed his car and took off into the woods off Swindell Road, near the Interstate 4 overpass. That's when Officer Williams dispatched Hyde to get the job done.
Moments later, Officer Williams caught up to Hyde and Smith. Police say Smith was holding the dog down and had stabbed him twice.
"I was concerned for him. I just wanted to get him to the vet. It was so dark, I wasn't sure how injured he was," Officer Williams said Monday.
Smith was arrested and Hyde was rushed to the emergency vet, who tended to stab wounds to the leg and chest. After getting four staples and only two full days of rest, Hyde is already showing a remarkable recovery.
"He's very amped up, he's ready to go. He doesn't seem to be suffering from too many setbacks or anything," Williams said.
Officer Williams is taking a little longer to bounce back from the close call. He says he's blessed to still have his special bond with man's best friend.
"He loves his job and I love mine. Wouldn't be the same without him," he said.
Hyde is on light duty for the next couple of weeks while he recovers.