74-Year-Old Man Pries Open Jaws of Alligator to Save His Beloved Puppy

Most of us like to think we would do the unimaginable if a predator had its jaws around one of our children or a beloved pet, but would we?

Would our instincts kick in to save a small pet from, say, the jaws of an alligator? Well, one 74-year-old man didn’t even hesitate when it was his beloved little dog who was in danger. Richard Wilbanks is a Florida man who bravely saved his dog from being literally eaten alive by an alligator. Richard was enjoying the sun in his back yard when he suddenly heard his new little puppy, Gunner, crying out in terror and pain.

Rushing to the edge of a backyard pond, Richard saw that an alligator had grabbed the puppy and pulled him into the water, no doubt anticipating a tasty little meal. As it turns out, Richard is an avid hunter and his instincts are quick. Without hesitation, he jumped into the pond and grabbed the small alligator. As he pulled the reptile’s powerful jaws open, Richard was able to save Gunner, who is a three-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Richard credits instinct, saying that it was a “shock” and everything happened very quickly. He said that the adrenaline kicked in and he went straight into the water to rescue his puppy.

In an interview with WBBH, Richard’s wife, Louise, said that her husband only had a few cuts from the alligator and the puppy is doing fine. Louise described the moment when she realized that her husband had literally wrestled an alligator, saying that he was covered in blood and had the dog in his arms. And he did all of this without ever losing the cigar that he was smoking. It stayed put right in his mouth. This is a tough fellow.

The incident was captured on video because the family participates in a program with the Florida Wildlife Federation that allows the agency to document animals by putting cameras up on the property of homeowners who live near wild habitats. The alligator has been safely removed from the area. Watch this jaw-dropping (I couldn’t resist) video below.