Each year, Houston Dynamo FC aims to highlight Houstonians who go above and beyond for their fellow citizens through the Club’s “Hero of the Game” program. Through this program, the Club invites a service member to each home game at PNC Stadium. This season, we want to give fans the chance to learn a little bit more about each of these Heroes by profiling them before the game.  

For the Dynamo season opener, which will take place at PNC Stadium on Sunday evening against Real Salt Lake, there will actually be two heroes honored because, as they will tell you, they come as a package deal. 

When Houston Police Officer Paul Foster responded to a call about an attempted carjacking suspect who was on the run, he and his trusty canine partner Nate sprang into action, just as they had done so often. 

Officer Foster and Nate eventually chased the suspect into a backyard, cornering him there. At that point, Foster sent Nate after the suspect. Soon thereafter, Foster heard a yelp from the backyard and he knew that his partner was down. 

“I immediately went into triaging Nate,” Officer Foster said. “He had a stab wound to the chest. The guy sunk a knife nine inches into his chest, cutting about seven arteries. I ended up packing his wound as best I could and getting him into the car to take him to the vet.” 

Foster, who is a Senior Police Officer with the Tactical Operations Division K-9 Detail, has been working alongside Nate for over three years at this point. According to the police officer, the two of them could not be any closer. 

"I take him home with me every day. He goes to work with me every day. We're with each other pretty much 24/7. I spend more time with him than I do my wife and kids. So he is like a kid to me. You can imagine, if you spend that much time with an animal, you develop a special bond between the two of you." 

Fortunately, Nate went on to survive this attempt on his life, in part due to the quick thinking by his handler and in part because of the work of the vets that Foster rushed him to after the attack. 

More than a month removed from the attack, Foster has only gained an increased appreciation for Nate and all of the fellow dogs that help police officers in the line of duty. 

"They're an invaluable asset,” Foster said. “We use them for apprehension, we use them as a locating tool. It's a tool that, if you're an officer, you really respect because they're the ones out there catching these crooks for you and locating these guys that you've been chasing that you've lost." 

In the wake of this incident, Foster says that he has been amazed by the outpouring of support from the Houston community. 

"We've had a ton of organizations reach out to us and provide assistance. We've had tons of letters and we've had people send Nate toys and words of encouragement. So the community has really reached out and shown their support throughout this entire process, so it's made it a little easier. We completely appreciate it." 

This support is particularly important because Nate is not planning to call it a career any time soon. Officer Foster says that he is looking forward to getting his best friend back out there on the force with him. 

"I would say he's at 80% mind and 80% body right now. So, we're trying to get his body back up to 100% where he can do everything he used to. He'll be back at it in March, as soon as he's 100%."