Richland County, SC (WLTX) - It was a close call for a Richland County Deputy's K9.

Officer Arko had the deadly condition, gastric dilatation-volvulus, which means his stomach was twisted.

“It was like watching one of my children in pain,” Arko’s partner Lt. Kevin Hoover explained of the partner he’s had for almost 10 years. “These guys are our family.”

Hoover rushed Arko to the vet as soon as he could sense something was wrong.

“A few days after surgery, he started going downhill,” Hoover said. “You don't realize how much you love these guys, until they're almost taken away from you.”

Hoover was so worried, he slept with Arko to comfort him.

“And just Monday morning I think we’ve turned a corner,” the lieutenant said.

Hoover said Arko is now doing much better and is eating again.

He should be able to go back to work full time in four to six weeks so the pair can do what they do best.

“His ability to go out in the community and reach people in a way that I'm not able to,” Hoover said with a smile. “He's reached thousands of people.”