Few places in the world do dog owners have to worry about their precious pet getting eaten by an alligator, but in Florida, you do. Check out this incredible footage caught by wildlife cameras of a man saving his puppy from the jaws of an alligator.
Puppy Saved From Alligator
74-year-old Richard Willbanks of Estero, Florida, was out for a walk with his three-month-old puppy Gunner. While making their way around the pond in their backyard, an alligator shot out of the water and dragged the tiny Cavalier King Charles spaniel into the pond. (1)
“it came out of the water like a missile. I never thought an alligator could be that fast. It was so quick.” he explained. (1)
Without hesitation, Willbanks jumped into the water to save his pup. He grabbed ahold of the alligator and began wrenching at his mouth to pry open the animal’s jaws. (1)
“Instinct just took over and adrenaline kicked in and I just went right into the water after the gator and Gunner,” Willbanks recalled. (2)
After several moments, he succeeded.
The entire scene was captured by wildlife cameras set up by the Florida Wildlife Federation and fSTOP Florida. (1)
Puppy and Owner Doing Well
Once Gunner was free from the alligator, Willbanks ran carrying the little dog back to the house. His wife was, not surprisingly, quite shocked at their state. (2)
“He had the dog and he was covered in blood,” she said. (2)
Thanks to Willbanks’ quick reaction, this story has a happy ending. Gunner only had one small puncture wound in his belly that a quick trip to the vet made better. The battle with the alligator injured Willbanks’ hands somewhat, though nothing that a doctor’s visit and a cautionary tetanus shot couldn’t fix. (1)
No Hard Feelings
Despite his potentially disastrous run-in with the alligator, Willbanks does not want the animal removed from the pond. He agrees with the wildlife federation’s mission that is for humans and animals to live together on shared land. Though it’s his backyard, it’s the alligator’s home, too. (1)
“They’re part of nature and part of our lives,” he said. (2)
That being said, he is certainly a bit more cautious now than he was before. He keeps Gunner on a leash when they go for walks throughout the property now, and always maintains a 10-foot distance between them and the pond’s edge. (1)