"My father is our hero," Buddy Ackerman's daughter told ABC Action News of his quick maneuver that saved her dog Osi from the jaws of a nearly 8-foot gator
A 75-year-old Florida man leveraged some quick thinking to save the life of his daughter’s Golden Retriever after the dog was attacked by an alligator.
Buddy Ackerman of Palm Harbor, a city about 30 minutes northwest of Tampa, opened up to local station ABC Action News about the harrowing July 9 incident — which saw a nearly 8-foot gator make quick work of grabbing the canine, named Osi, as the pup was relieving himself near a backyard pond.
“He was squealing a good bit when the thing grabbed him,” Ackerman told the outlet, recalling being “a nervous wreck” and slipping and falling onto his backside while “tugging” against the reptile.
“Alligator is going one way, I’m going the other,” he said.
Eventually, Ackerman recounted, the gator “opened its mouth real wide and backed up a little” after he kicked the reptile two times in the snout. The maneuver allowed Osi to get free from the larger animal’s grasp.
“My father is our hero,” Ackerman’s daughter, Jody, told ABC Action News of her dad, who was watching the dog while she was on vacation. “Osi and I are so very grateful that nobody was hurt.”
An adorable snapshot taken after the incident showed Osi next to a “DANGER” sign with a picture of a gator on it, warning people not to “feed” the animals.
For Ackerman, he was just thankful Osi was a larger dog, explaining, “I don’t know what would have happened with people with little Pekingese or something running around. I guess we’d say goodbye.”
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The Tampa Bay Times reports that it was dark outside when the incident occurred, as Ackerman was walking Osi around 5:30 a.m. local time, and that the dog walked away without injury.
“I’m chalking it up to good luck,” Ackerman told the Times of his victory. “I was worried more about my daughter and how she would feel.”
According to ABC Action News, trappers retrieved the gator — who was 7 feet, 7 inches long — the next day, on July 10.