Grandpa wrestles an alligator to save his dog

We all know that some things only happen in Florida, and that rarely do those things involve heroism, sobriety or platonic love felt towards one’s pet. Today, however, we have a different kind of Florida story. According to the Sun Sentinel, a grandpa living in a retirement community near Olrando saved his dog Tuesday by wrestling it free from an alligator’s jaws.

Steve Gustafson says he was trimming an oak tree in his yard when her heard “a blood-curdling yelp” from his dog Bounce, a fluffy white West Highland Terrier. When he turned around a 7-foot gator had Bounce clenched in its jaws and was carrying it off into a nearby pond.

That’s when all those hours of Steve Irwin programming kicked in.

“I just knew that my best friend was going to be dead,” he told the Sun. “And I took off…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.”

The Sun Sentinel writes:

Within seconds he said he wrangled the reptile’s head to the bottom of the pond while grabbing its back leg. The 130-pound gator spun trying to submerge them all in 3 feet of water, but Gustafson regained his balance and shoved the gator toward the shore, a move that freed the diminutive Bounce, who weighs 13 pounds. The pooch slowly paddled for safety as Gustafson tossed the startled gator back into the pond, but not before it snapped at his right hand.

Gustafson lived to tell the tale, which he did quite nicely for the Orlando Sentinel.