Family Dog Survives Brutal Alligator Attack
Debbe Decker had no way of knowing what was lurking around her home one recent night when she let her dogs out for their nightly potty break.
Debbe Decker had no way of knowing what was lurking around her home when she let her dogs out for their nightly potty break on July 3.
Then she heard a yelp, followed by a much louder yelp, and saw her 12-year-old Rottweiler, Macks, run toward the house. Debbe’s husband Bill saw an alligator get back into the water nearby, and they immediately called their senior German shepherd mix, Rocky, who is 14, and went to the house.
Within five minutes of being outside, Macks, who weighs 104 pounds, had been attacked.
Gator Attack Disfigures Dog
Debbe panicked at the sight of Macks. His ear and face was torn from his head. He was also wet, which means the alligator pulled him into the water to try and drown him!
"I was so upset I could barely think straight. I realized that I had to calm down in order to help Macks," she wrote in a letter to friends apologizing for her apparent absence in relation to a local dog rescue group she works with.
Debbe put Macks skin back on his head, used a shirt to hold it in place and used it as a tourniquet to control bleeding. Then rushed him to the animal ER, where he was bandaged and immediately put on IV antibiotics and pain medication.
Macks temperature was 105 degrees and rising! The veterinarians explained that alligators have so much bacteria in their mouths and that Macks was at risk for a serious infection.
The veterinarians were hoping the antibiotics and pain meds would stabilize him, and they were concerned his ear, which was completely removed from his head.
A Hero's Long Road to Recovery
Debbe called her dog's primary care veterinarian and was told to bring him over right away.
Debbe said that the veterinarians have bent over backwards to help save Macks's ear. The vet came in early, worked through lunch and late into the day. After one day later, Macks' cheerful spirit began to return. Macks is now back at home and Debbe says Macks continues to do better each and every day. He's wagging his tail, eating food and wanting love.
"It is not pretty, but if you could see what he looked like, the vet did a wonderful job of suturing him back up, as it was truly horrible wound," Debbe said.
Debbe and Bill credit Macks with saving Rocky, who has arthritis. The alligator could have easily made a meal out of Rocky, or even attacked one of them! For that, Debbe and Bill call Macks a hero.
"He would not have survived," Debbe said of her frail Rocky.
Doomed Gator Finds a Happy Ending
Many of you, like me, may be wondering what happened to the alligator!
Well, while Macks was in surgery, Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission came out to capture the alligator. They discovered it was a 9-FOOT FEMALE, who had actually laid a nest on the bank of their typically shallow brook.
The area was not a normal habitat for an alligator, but all the recent storms, rains and currents, must have brought her in, the FWCC trapper explained. This was news to Bill and Debbe. The nearest alligator they'd known about was more than 10 miles away.
The brook near their home was normally too shallow and narrow to provide a good food source for an alligator. The trapper even said that the alligator would have normally left, she did not leave because she had laid eggs. The FWCC trapper also said that typically any alligator more than 4 feet are euthanized, and those less than 4 feet are relocated to a more appropriate habitat.
Once the alligator was captured, they found her nest with 40 eggs. Only one was broken! Debbe grew sad when she heard that the gator would be euthanized. Of course, she was upset about her baby, but she realized this alligator was doing what any good mom would do to protect her babies.
When the FWCC returned the following day to get the eggs, they told Debbe that because it is so unusual to find a female gator so large, she would be transferred to an alligator farm and the eggs would go to an alligator preserve, where they would be cared for in an incubator until they hatch.
Paying it Forward
Pet owners, please let Debbe and Bill's story be a warning to you. Please, be aware that alligators can show up everywhere in Florida! Be extra careful while walking your pets if you live around small bodies of water that may have swollen because of all the recent rains.
Debbe Decker is an avid volunteer for the dog world. She helps rescue, foster, and find homes for homeless pets in the area.