SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — It was a rough 24 hours for a San Diego Police dog, but after a successful surgery, things were looking up on Tuesday for Officer Dexter. 

The 4-year-old K9 officer suffered a deep stab wound while in the line of duty Monday.  

"The dog suffered a broken rib, and a lacerated spleen," said Officer Larry Adair.  

SDPD released a photo of the 4-year-old Belgian Malinois resting on an electric blanket after surgery at a local emergency veterinary hospital. 

 "These dogs do such tremendous work for us," said Adair. "They put themselves in harm's way."  

Investigators say 22-year-old Rogelio Carrion stabbed the police service dog with a seven-inch butcher's knife Monday morning.  

They say the man's mother called 911, reporting her son acting violently inside their Encanto home. When officers arrived, they say Carrion was armed with a knife, and refused to drop it. That's when a K9 team was called in; the dogs are trained to take down a suspect, as a less-than-lethal force option. 

"By and large, we find people who are otherwise non-compliant with officers, tend to be compliant when a dog shows up," said Adair.  

Dexter bit Carrion in the arm, which gave officers time to disarm the suspect, apprehend him, and take him into custody, but Dexter was stabbed in the process.   

 "I can't tell you how awful it is to see your partner, your friend, your pal, your best friend stabbed, wounded - it's horrible," Officer Adair said.  

Though Dexter is off duty for now, he will be evaluated, and hopefully can return to the force.  

"We have been very fortunate in the past, and have had dogs that have been stabbed, come back to full duty," said Adair.