A dog-lover who reached out to a strange dog has paid for the greeting with part of his middle finger.
The man was in the Glenfield Intermediate School car park on the Sunday of Auckland Anniversary weekend last month when a "big, black-haired" dog of unknown breed bit off his finger.
"[I got out of my car] and a dog just happened to be walking past. I said, 'Oh, hello doggy', because I quite like dogs, put my hand out and it just decided to go snap."
The man, who did not want to be named, told the Herald it took a moment to realise the top third of his right middle finger no longer there.
"Because it snapped at me, I obviously reacted and went to push it away, and I couldn't properly push it because it snapped my finger off.
"The next thing I'm standing there with a friend and there's blood pumping out ... it was horrifying, I mean I'm looking down at the ground and there's my finger on the ground, oh my god.
"There was pain. I was, 'Oh f****n hell, just get me to the hospital'."
The pair drove five minutes to North Shore Hospital's emergency department, carrying the severed finger wrapped in a shirt, but it wasn't able to be reattached, the man said.
After surgery under local anaesthetic, he was continuing his recovery at home.
He did not know what happened to the dog, which was unaccompanied and immediately ran off.
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While he phoned Glenfield Intermediate to warn them about the dog, the man hadn't told Auckland council or police.
"I couldn't be bothered going through the process. I'm a dog-lover, I would hate to see an animal getting put down."
He was no longer in pain, unless he bumped his hand, and didn't expect any long-term consequences from the injury - the second in a year involving his right hand, after glass from a faulty villa window cut his hand so badly it was millimetres from being completely severed.
"[When I knock my finger now] it's a deep pain that lasts a while so I'm being very careful."
He also has phantom sensations, such as when using a computer mouse.
"I'm convinced I'm rubbing two fingers to move the mouse. But one's not there."
He was philosophical about the partial loss of the finger.
"I don't see any long term issues. It's not one of the main fingers, if you lost the top of your thumb or your index finger that would be a lot different to losing the middle finger."