Henrico Police say a pit bull was stabbed almost a dozen times while he was trying to protect his owner.
Now, Gordon Atkeison is in jail, accused of stabbing the dog named Chako. Atkeison is facing an animal cruelty charge and assault.
The photos of Chako in recovery moved a community to rally around the 2-year-old pit bull.
Dr. Stephanie Kemp with the Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center on Cary Street was part of the team that fought to save the dog's life.
"He had four really deep ones to his neck, he probably had eight or 10," she said.
Police say it happened Halloween night in the 200 block of Hodder Lane in eastern Henrico. Officers say as Atkeison was beating the woman, the dog got between both of them. That's when they say Atkeison shoved and stabbed Chako.
Dr. Kemp said most of the wounds were to the dog's neck. By the time veterinarians got to Chako, he had lost a lot of blood.
"He was a little what we call 'shocky,'" she said. "His body was responding to that and trying to keep him alive."
The cost of Chako's surgery: $3,000. Two non-profit groups, Gracie's Guardians and Ring Dog Rescue stepped in. They posted the photos and the story to Facebook. In just a few hours, this dog's tale was shared thousands of times.
"The public came out within 24 hours and was able to cover several thousand dollars worth of pet bills just with some postings on Facebook," says Will Lowrey, a volunteer with Gracie's Guardians.
Right now, the victim says she wants privacy. But those who know her say she's grateful for Chako, who's is more than a four legged friend - he's her guardian.
The dog is now home with his owner.
Copyright 2013 WWBT NBC12. All rights reserved.
WWBT-TV NBC 12
P.O. Box 12
On Your Side
Video and Pics