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75-Year-Old Man Fights Off Alligator with Bare Hands To Save Life of Beloved Golden Retriever

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When someone asks you to watch their dog for them while they’re out of town, it can be almost as serious as if they’re asking you to watch their child.

There are some pretty even-keeled owners who will bring their pup to you along with its tub of food, bed and maybe a favorite toy or two, and then there are those owners who bring every earthly possession ever bestowed upon their dog along with an hour-by-hour breakdown of the dog’s schedule that they expect you to follow religiously.

In either case, it would be devastating if anything happened to your furry charge. There’s a bit of stress and pressure that can creep in as the days pass, especially if you’re especially close to the person whose dog you’re watching, because you don’t want the dog or your relationship with its owner to be damaged.

That was likely the case for Buddy Ackerman of Palm Harbor, Florida, who was watching a dog that belonged to his daughter — (potential) double whammy.

Perhaps that’s why, when disaster struck, Ackerman struck back.

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As Ackerman headed out Tuesday morning for a potty walk with Osi the dog, neither dog nor man expected the danger lurking nearby. As Osi squatted to do his business, he was interrupted by a splash.

“All of a sudden, I see the water rippling right along in here — almost seemed like an explosion,” Ackerman told WFTS-TV.

The dog, understandably startled and in pain, started making some noise as the 7-foot-7-inch reptile latched on.

“He was squealing a good bit when the thing grabbed him,” Ackerman continued.

“Me, I’m a nervous wreck, I go up and slip and fall on my rear end, and the two of us are tugging,” he said. “Alligator is going one way, I’m going the other.”

They played tug-of-war for a while before Ackerman kicked the alligator in the nose, prompting it to let go of the poor golden retriever.

“The thing opened its mouth real wide and backed up a little,” Ackerman explained.

Osi isn’t too much the worse for wear and while sore, he surprisingly has no major injuries. Thanks to his size, he avoided being breakfast.

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“I don’t know what would have happened with people with little Pekingese or something running around,” Ackerman said. “I guess we’d say goodbye.”

“My father is our hero, Osi and I are so very grateful that nobody was hurt,” Jody Ackerman, Osi’s owner, told WFTS-TV.

Jody also said that after the attack she took Osi to read the alligator warning signs so that there would be no repeat episode.

The day after the attack, the alligator was removed, but officials are still warning owners to give potential alligator habitats a wide berth with their pups — a good rule of thumb no matter whose dog you’re walking.

Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, has reached out to Jody Ackerman for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking