As 92-year-old Jim Morgan lay on the ground trying to fight off the stray dog attacking him, all he could think of was protecting his best mate, Sandy.
The Kaikohe resident was knocked off his feet as the stray launched itself at Sandy, Mr Morgan's small dog, while they were out on their morning walk on Saturday.
Yesterday, Mr Morgan was at home recuperating, with stitches to his left hand and in more shock than when he was initially attacked, as the gravity of the incident sank in.
Recalling the terrifying events, Mr Morgan, who has poor hearing and eyesight, said he only saw the attacking dog when it was a metre away. He was returning to his home on Harold Ave and was just 100m from the front gate.
"I just saw it coming at me. He made a dive for Sandy and he knocked me over," Mr Morgan said.
"The dog was biting and all I wanted to do was get the bloody dog off Sandy. I was just screaming for help when I realised I couldn't do it.
"He's my life," said Mr Morgan, whose wife died five years ago.
A neighbour came to Mr Morgan's aid and grabbed the attacking dog's collar.
Sandy, a terrier-chihuahua cross, was bitten all over and required numerous stitches at a cost of $700.
Neighbours Cynthia Moran and her husband Garry said serious dog attacks had been happening in the street since 2006, and it was only a matter of time before someone was killed. Kristin Edge