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By Sean Federico-O'Murchu

A New Zealand police dog had an emotional reunion, licking and bounding on his handler, after it went missing for a week in the Tararua Ranges, a mountainous area about 70 miles from the capital Wellington.

The German Shepherd named Thames became separated from Constable Mike Wakefield during a search-and rescue team exercise on May 3.

"I'm really really happy to see my dog and I think he's pretty happy to see me," Wakefield said Sunday in a video distributed by the police department. The dog wolfed down half a Salami sandwich after reuniting with his owner. "I was just lost for words.”

Thames had a vet check Monday and was found to be in good shape, other than being skinnier after 7 days foraging in the mountain tops.

He and Wakefield will take a few weeks leave before returning to active duty, the police said.


— Seán Federico-O'Murchú