ORLANDO - A Grandpa in Orlando is now a dog's best friend.
Steve Gustafson, 66, a resident of The Villages retirement community northwest of Orlando, was trimming a tree when his 9-year-old West Highland Terrie named Bounce let out a blood-curdling yelp, reports the Orlando Sentinel.
He turned and watched as a 7-foot gator swam away with Bounce's shoulder and collar in its grasp.
"I just knew that my best friend was going to be dead," he told the Sentinel. "And I took off."
Gustafson took a running leap onto the gator and after a struggle, managed to rescue his pooch and escape serious injury.
Back on land, the Orlando Sentinel reports Bounce's rabies tag was bent from the gator's jaws and the reptile's grip ripped her skin. Bounce and Gustafson later received medical treatment and a couple of stitches.
"When people ask [about] my reaction — I didn't have a choice," Gustafson told the Sentinel. "If I hesitated I would have lost my best friend."
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