Police dog Caesar is sporting a few scars after being stabbed in the head but the canine crime fighter has been cleared to hit the beat again.
The 21-month-old dog was allegedly stabbed twice in the head - including once in the eye socket - after "a vicious struggle" with a man, who had allegedly broken into a Parua Bay home, near Whangārei, on December 22 at 6.30am.
Results from a CT scan show there was no permanent damage around Caesar's eye, although he had suffered two skull fractures. Luckily, his brain and eye were not directly hit.
After a few weeks of recuperation, Caesar and his handler Constable Josh Van Der Kwaak, who also received minor injuries, were put through their paces yesterday during a training session and both were cleared to start work on Monday.
Northland police dog Senior Sergeant Bruce McLeod said Caesar had gone through rigorous testing including bite work.
"We were making sure the dog was back at 100 per cent and everything seems fine. The dog has good strong character and showing no adverse effects."
The stabbing happened on only the duo's second job on duty since they graduated on December 6.
McLeod said dog handlers were aware of the dangers of the job but were well trained and prepared for work on the front line.
"Handlers asses the situations they are called to and consider what tactical decision to make. From time to time dogs do get injured and that's one of the risks we accept.
"The dogs are trained to perform at that level and we are confident they will do the best they can."
Caesar and Van Der Kwaak return to work on Monday night brings the Northland dog squad back to full strength. Five combinations patrol the region.
A man charged with stabbing Caesar has been remanded in jail until he appears again in Whangārei District Court on January 14.
The 30-year-old man, a forestry worker from Onerahi, was granted interim name suppression by Judge John MacDonald when he appeared in the Whangārei District Court.
He did not enter pleas to the charges.
He faces charges of unlawful interference with a 2009 Kawasaki motorcycle, assaulting a police officer while unlawfully taking a motorbike, failing to stop for police, entering a building in Parua Bay with intent to commit a crime with a red bladed knife, resisting a police officer and intentionally wounded a police dog.
The charges all relate to December 22.