TAMPA (FOX 13) - They live together, they serve and protect together. There's nothing quite like the bond between K-9 partners.
"He's been with me for over five and a half years and he's my best friend," Tampa Police Officer Tim Bergman said of K-9 partner Indo. In January, being there for his partner meant risking his own life. The two were searching an Ybor City home for a burglary suspect when they were suddenly attacked.
"The suspect was holding a can of paint primer that was already on fire. After lighting me on fire, he stuck it in K-9 Indo's face and was able to singe his face," said Bergman.
In fear for their lives, Bergman fired his gun, hitting the man, Joey Kennedy, in the stomach. Tampa police arrested Kennedy, who sustained non-life threatening injuries.
Bergman was OK, but Officer Indo wasn't.
"There was a lot of blood," recalled Bergman. "There was a substantial amount of blood coming from his head. I thought he was actually shot. I thought one of the rounds had ricocheted off the walls of the house. It was an old house with concrete walls."
Bergman went straight for Indo's medical kit, a donation from Frankie's Friends. The charity equips and trains K-9 officers on what to do in an emergency.
Bergman says the kit helped him treat Indo immediately.
"I grabbed the towel and saline solution and started wiping the blood off his face. I pressed his wound with gauze and that's when I realized it was just from the burn and he didn't have a bullet hole," said Bergman.
"Indo protected Officer Bergman. We're just glad that we could help keep Indo safe too," said Frankie's Friends executive director Danielle Martin.
Three weeks after the injury, Indo still has a scar the size of a silver dollar on his face from the wound. But the injury isn't slowing him down at all.
In his first day on duty since the attack, Indo couldn't wait to get back on his beat. The K-9 bounded up the double flight of stairs at TPD headquarters as he reported to his first press conference.
"He was just happy when we pulled up. He actually thought it was a building search. He started bouncing off the front door when I was trying to get in," smiled Bergman.