Florida man saves dog from alligator

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News Writer
Good News

Nine-year-old Bounce is alive today thanks to a heroic move by his owner.

Steve Gustafson, 66, rescued the West Highland Terrier Bounce from the jaws of a 7-foot alligator.

Gustafson, a resident of a retirement community northwest of Orlando, Florida, was trimming his oak tree while his dog played at the edge of a nearby pond.

He heard a loud, high-pitched yelp.

An alligator was swimming away — with Bounce's shoulder and collar in its mouth.

"I just knew that my best friend was going to be dead," Gustafson, a retired corporate lawyer, told the Orlando Sentinel. "And I took off."

"I saw the dog moving into the water and ran down the short hill in my backyard and just took a flying leap and landed flat on the back of the alligator," he told FoxNews.com.

Gustafson wrestled the 130-pound alligator until it released the 13-pound dog from its grasp. Both the man and his dog received medical treatment for puncture wounds, but escaped without serious injury.

"Three of the big teeth went into my hand," Gustafson told Local 10.

"It's like being in a really bad car accident and walking away from it," he said of his survival.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission doesn't recommend Gustafson's approach, as encounters with alligators can be deadly.

"When people ask [about] my reaction — I didn't have a choice," Gustafson defended his actions. "If I hesitated I would have lost my best friend."

On Sunday, a local trapper caught the alligator. Gustafson is having it stuffed as a reminder of their lucky survival story.

"It's gong to be an heirloom for future generations to see what their crazy great-grandfather did," he said.

Neighbours gifted the brave man with a Superman cape and an alligator belt buckle, WESH reported.