The moment a police dog was reunited with his handler after a week lost in the wilderness

It was a case of no man’s best friend left behind this week in New Zealand, as police mobilised a search of the bush for a missing police dog.

The moment a police dog was reunited with his handler after a week lost in the wilderness

Thames the police dog went missing during a training exercise, spending seven nights alone in the Tararua Ranges until he was reunited with his handler - in a moment captured on video.

The four-year-old German Shepherd went missing last Sunday, sparking a search of the 80-km long mountain range with two teams totalling 12, including trained search volunteers and fellow dog handlers, the force said.

Fittingly in the search for a police dog, it was tracking skills led the team to Thames, after they discovered a fresh paw print to put them on the right trail. And it was his handler, Constable Mike Wakefield, who found him.

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"I whistled and called but he ran off as if to say come this way before running back and giving me a big lick," Wakefield said of the reunion.

"He wolfed down half of my salami which is a treat for him, I gave him a cuddle and we had a big play. I was just lost for words."

Thames was fit enough to make the four-hour walk down from the ranges, which are inaccessible to vehicles, despite being noticeably skinnier- but otherwise none the worse for wear.

He's now due for a precautionary trip to the vet before some well-deserved time off to recover from his ordeal - and enjoy his newly-minted fame.

But in a few weeks time, Wakefield and Thames will be back keeping the streets of Wairarapa safe.

"We are absolutely delighted at the news and Mike is ecstatic," says Senior Sergeant Mark Davidson, Wellington Police Dog Section.

"There's some very happy people up there and one happy dog."

READ MORE: VIDEO: TD asked to remove Yes Equality badge live on RTÉ chat show .

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