The story of a plucky little dog who died trying to protect a group of children threatened by two vicious pitbulls in a small Taranaki town has gained worldwide attention.
Now his owner, Alan Gay, wishes he had never agreed to let George, a 9-year-old jack russell terrier, be put down despite his massive injuries.
George had last Sunday tagged along with a group of neighbourhood children as they walked to the Taranaki township of Manaia.
Two pitbulls suddenly rushed at a 4-year-old boy, prompting George to bark loudly and run towards them, getting severely mauled for putting himself in the line of fire.
Mr Gay told the Weekend Herald yesterday that the veterinarian who attended to George had strongly advised to have the little terrier put down as the injuries were the worst he had seen.
"Georgie had a heart condition for which he was on medication ... he was in shock. I had just a minute or two to make up my mind ... I wish I hadn't now."
Mr Gay said he had taken on George when the terrier was a couple of years old.
The dog had come from a broken home. He had originally belonged to Mr Gay's former neighbours who moved away and then split up. They offered George to Mr Gay because the dog spent so much time at his place.
At the time Mr Gay also had a german shepherd and a corgi which have both since died.
Mr Gay, who lives alone, said George was a "finely trained" dog who had been taught not to go to town without company because of dangerous dogs and fast cars.
Instead, George's daily routine was to take a short trip around the neighbourhood and pause at a plant nursery where "he'd have a piddle on the gate post".
Mr Gay said he had had offers of new dogs from all "all over the place" but was in no hurry to replace his "bright and happy" George.
"I would like the whole thing to die down first ... the phone calls have ben coming thick and fast."
He'd had calls from people in tears over George's demise, even a caller from New York expressing sorrow.
A newspaper in Washington D.C contacted Mr Gay to ask him a few questions.
"They told me when they ran the story they got a massive response."