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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man Fights Off 13-Foot-Long Gator To Save Dog: 'I'd Fight Tooth and Nail for Him'

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Most stories that start off with “Florida Man” do not end well. It’s basically a trope, at this point, that any tale beginning with those two fateful words is going to highlight the insanity of humanity.

But not this story, because this Florida Man is a hero.

Trent Tweddale, a former Army staff sergeant from Pasco County, Florida, lives on a farm with his family and animals. Loki is the family’s 6-year-old rescue dog, and he especially adores Connor, the couple’s baby.

Loki was tagging along on a walk with Trent on June 8, dipping his paws in a river, when the calm was shattered by a nearly 13-foot alligator.

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The huge reptile dragged Loki into the water by the leg — but Trent wasn’t about to let his pup go without a fight.

“I grabbed the dog’s collar to try to pull him back and I ended up in a tug of war match with this gator and the gator was not letting go,” he told WFLA-TV. “So I let go of the collar and I got about knee-deep into the water and started pounding on the gator’s head until he eventually let go.”

Though it was a miracle that the gator let go and backed off, Loki was in sad shape.

“When I pulled him back up, the bones were out and it looks like the arm was just hanging by a shred,” Trent explained.

His wife, Kristina, posted on Facebook about what it was like to hear her husband come into the yard screaming with their dog bleeding in his arms.

“I’m forever grateful to Trent Tweddale for somehow rescuing my very best friend, Loki, from the mouth of the massive hell beast that found it’s way into our river on Monday,” she wrote.

“I’ll never forget running outside to his screams, holding Loki’s shredded, broken leg together to stop the bleeding, and trying to keep him calm while Trent drove to the vet. I thought for sure Loki would die in my arms before we made it there.”

The pup, despite his injuries, still had his Good Boy manners on display, forgetting his own wounds when baby Connor cried in the car.

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“Even in his most painful moments, Loki was still being best boy,” Kristina continued. “Loki always comes running when Connor cries in the house. When Connor cried at an extra long red light on the way to the emergency vet, I had to lay across Loki to restrain him from jostling his shattered limb, because he still wanted to help out his baby brother.”

The dog started to go into shock as they drove, and it was anyone’s guess whether or not he’d pull through.

“I just kept telling him how much we love him and tried to keep him as calm and comfortable as possible,” Kristina wrote. “When the vet took him in the building we weren’t sure we’d ever see him again.”

Thankfully, the pup lived, and thanks to metal plates and screws, he has his leg back — though only time will tell if he’ll get back the full use of his paw.

“A gargantuan gator can crush his leg but not his spirit, he’s already wagging his tail like crazy and trying to follow us around the house,” Kristina continued.

And now that 13-foot water beast has a determined former staff sergeant on its tail. A trapper was called out, a trap was set, and now they wait to see if they can catch the dangerous animal.

“We haven’t had any luck yet,” Trent said. “We love our dog a lot and I’d fight tooth and nail for him.”

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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