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.”