A grandfather wrestled a 130-pound alligator to save his beloved dog, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
"I just knew that my best friend was going to be dead," said 66-year-old Steve Gustafson. "And I took off."
Gustafson told Fox News that he was doing yard work last Friday when he heard his dog, a West Highland Terrier named Bounce, let out a "yelp." The little pup had been at the edge of a pond, where an alligator was quietly lurking.
"I looked up and the gator had her in his mouth and was taking her far out," he said. "I knew if I needed to react, it had to be quick."
Gustafson, who lives in Lake County, Fla., said he "didn't think twice" about rescuing his dog from the 7-foot alligator.
“For whatever reason, I don’t know, I just yelled, ‘You’re not going to get her!’ and just leaped on the gator… just like you do some silly belly flop in a pool,” Gustafson said. “The only difference was I landed on top of a gator.”
Incredibly, the fit grandpa managed to wrestle the dog from the gator’s deadly jaws -- and both he and Bounce walked away from the encounter with no major injuries.
"We were all under water," he told Fox News. "My main objective was to get the dog to the surface for air."
Patrick Delaney, an alligator biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, told ABC News that attacks on dogs are “extremely uncommon but do occur."
According to the Orlando Sentinel, the gator that attacked Bounce was trapped earlier this week and Gustafson said he is getting the "carcass processed." He plans to keep it for future generations.
"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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