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Florida Grandfather Wrestles Alligator to Save His Dog

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When 66-year old Steve Gustafson’s West Highland Terrier was attacked by a 7-foot alligator near his Florida home, he didn’t think twice before leaping onto the gator’s back and wrestling his 9-year old best friend back to safety.

Gustafson explained to The Orlando Sentinel, “I just knew that my best friend was going to be dead, and I took off.”

While Gustafson trimmed an Oak tree in his backyard on Friday afternoon, his 13-pound furbaby, Bounce, was playing nearby. Suddenly, the grandfather and retired corporate lawyer heard a terrible yelp and turned to see his West Highland Terrier being pulled into a pond by a large alligator that had latched onto the dog’s shoulder and collar.

That’s when Steve leapt onto the alligator’s back to save his dog!

He wrestled with the 130-pound gator, freeing his tiny dog from the reptile’s deadly jaws within just a few seconds. Meanwhile, the gator spun and snapped at Gustafson’s hand, but he continued wrestling until his dog was safely paddling away.

Gustafson and Bounce emerged from the pond, soaked, battered, and bruised – but alive. Both received medical attention and stitches, but are doing well after the ordeal.

As for the gator, a local wildlife trapper caught and killed the bloodthirsty reptile. Gustafson plans to have the gator taxidermied and will keep him on his back porch as a reminder of the events of that day. He also plans to keep a much closer eye on Bounce from now on.

“When people ask about my reaction — I didn’t have a choice,” he said. “If I hesitated I would have lost my best friend.”

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  1. Avatar Of Joe



    C’mon. Bloodthirsty?! Way to make it sound like the alligator is some horrible creature. I love dogs and feel for the man and his dog, but the alligator was just doing what came natural to it.

  2. Avatar Of Nancy Wagner

    Nancy Wagner


    This is an absolute remarkable story. So many people don’t realize how dogs and people bond or how intelligent our four legged friends are. Thank goodness you were there to save this precious puppy. I have three dogs and when I lost my husband, they knew something was not right. They won’t leave my side. They say dogs are a man’s best friend, but in your case YOU were your puppy’s best friend and saviour.

  3. Avatar Of Michele Matthews

    michele matthews


    you go grandpa. you are the man. god bless you.

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