Jon Austria / Naples Daily News USA TODAY
Richard Willbanks realizes how lucky he is to always have Gunner by his side. A few weeks ago, the septuagenarian had indeed saved his dog from the fangs of an alligator. He gives news of his 4-legged friend.
Richard Willbanks and his dog Gunner , a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel , were walking near their home in Estero , Florida, when a young alligator emerged from the water and attacked the canine.
The 74-year-old man then threw himself on the reptilian and managed to loosen his jaw to free his pet . He has recovered well from the attack , as reported by USA Today .
Richard Willbanks has, in fact, told the American media that Gunner suffered only from a wound and the presence of a small amount of water in his lungs . The x-rays taken in the veterinary clinic , where he had taken him immediately after the incident, fortunately did not reveal any internal lesions . The dog had been hospitalized a few days before returning home safe and sound.
His brave owner had adopted him from a breeder in Miami . He and his wife Louise cherish him as if he were their own child. They had moved into their house in Estero 4 years ago, after falling in love with the place, in the middle of the wilderness . They came from the Texas countryside.
The attack on Gunner by the alligator was filmed by one of the cameras installed by the Florida Wildlife Federation and the fStop Foundation , 2 organizations dedicated to the preservation of wildlife in Florida.
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Richard Willbanks said he learned his lesson and advises other dog owners in the area to only walk their dogs on a leash and not to come within 3 meters of water points .