A new owner is being sought for a hero pit bull terrier which was stabbed five times, saving a woman from a knife attack. The dog – fittingly named "Hero" by two police officers who witnessed the incident – did not know the woman, who was being attacked by a male attacker in a domestic incident in Baldwin, Georgia on 22 July.

Officer Timothy Clay said: "The dog... lunged toward the male and the male came out with the knife and stabbed the dog several times. I don't think we could have let that dog suffer and die. We felt like we needed to get that dog some help after what it had been through."

Fighting for the Bullys Pit Bull Rescue founder Carla Welch heard about the incident on social media and raised $1,400 in donations to pay for Hero's medical care, WBIR reported. The homeless Hero is now being looked after at the centre in Knoxville, Tennessee.

"He has had a really rough life," said Welch. "He has had a bum back leg and a bum front leg, but he gets around fine and he's looking for a good friend. He's very laid back, very sweet. He likes to talk to you. He's going to make somebody a great companion."

Welch also praised the two officers for saving Hero. "For those two officers to go to the extent they did to save him is very heroic and very awesome," she told WATE.

Despite the reputation for ferocity, pit bull terriers – once nick-named "Nanny Dogs" – make loyal and loving pets, and there have been a number of cases where they have saved the lives of humans. One was Lilly, in Shirley, Massachusetts, dragged her unconscious owner off train tracks in an incident witnessed by the driver of the train. Lilly was badly injured in the incident and had to have a leg amputated.