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Houston police dog, sponsored by College Station nonprofit, recovers from being stabbed

Posted at 7:20 PM, Feb 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-08 20:24:17-05

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Many dogs are well trained. They're talented sniffer, they answer commands, and they protect their loved ones.

But a dog risking his life for his job, even after being stabbed in the chest, is one-in-a-million.

K9 Nate is a four-year-old Belgian Malinois employed by the Houston Police Department, trained in the ways of patrol, suspect apprehension and bomb detection.

When chasing a knife-wielding suspect through a Houston parking garage last month, Nate showed no hesitation.

"He actually swung, hitting the wall, staggering back," recalled Ofc. Paul Foster, K9 handler for Nate. "It was a hard, blunt force trauma to his chest.”

Foster said Nate continued to pursue the suspect, a man named Ryan Mitchell, even after staggering back from the stab wound.

"Without Nate, I honestly believe the officers on scene would have been severely injured, or the suspect would have been killed," Foster said.

Nate is special even as far as police dogs go, the officer said, as he's able to navigate the complex requirements of S.W.A.T. operations. It’s through College Station nonprofit K9s4COPs, founded by Kristi Schiller, that HPD was able to acquire Nate from a special European breeding program.

"These dogs will do anything for their handlers," said Schiller. "They live with them, and a lot of times these officers will spend more time with them than they do their spouse, or their own family. That becomes their partner - and their work, and play. And Nate was just doing his job.”

Schiller said dogs like Nate, gifted to departments across the world by K9s4COPs, have performed acts of heroism and taken over $1 billion of contraband off the streets.

"These canines don’t ask for time off," she said. "They don’t take a holiday. They don’t ever come to work hung over. Everything they do is for the love of a tennis ball.”

Nate has been recovering ever since the attack in late January, and is ready to serve Houston as soon as possible. Foster said the dog is already walking, playing, and even running a little bit. Nate is scheduled to go back to work in less than two months.

K9s4COPs hopes to recruit Texas A&M students to help build software that will track and publicly display all the successful missions of dogs like K9 Nate, as they work out in the field.