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Fla. man jumps onto gator to save his dog

Doogie the terrier is resting comfortably at a veterinarian's office after surviving an attack by an alligator thanks to quick, courageous action by his owner.
/ Source: WHEC-TV

Doogie, a lovable terrier, is resting comfortably at the veterinarian's office after surviving an attack by an alligator.

It happened Thursday evening behind Gary Murphy's Palm City, Fla., home.

"I'm right here, standing right here and I hear a yip," says Murphy, standing behind his home which sits in a marsh along the St. Lucie River. "I look down. The gator's right here with Doogie in his mouth."

Murphy didn't hesitate. After all Doogie is more than a dog — he's a constant companion.

"I must have cleared this by a foot," says Murphy, referring to the rope railing that runs along the dock. "I had loafers on and I hit the back of that gator. It was like jumping on a pile of rocks. But when I did, I caught him right behind the head here. I hit him here and his mouth opened and Doogie took off and the gator turned around and went under the boat and out he went."

Murphy found his West Highland white terrier shaking with terror and bleeding from deep gouges the gator's teeth made.

He's now receiving antibiotics through an IV.

Veterinarian Andrea Pace thinks Doogie will be OK.

"He's really lucky," says Pace. "He had some injuries in his lungs. We took X-rays and he has some other, some problems on the liver, but he should be able to make it."

Murphy knows he jumped in at the right moment.

If he hadn't heard Doogie cry for help, the dog would have been the gator's next meal.

"Thirty seconds, more or less, less than that. Ten seconds," says Murphy. "He just had him in his mouth and was dragging him back."

Murphy says the alligator hung around for a few minutes after the attack but hasn't been seen since. He will be ready if the gator comes back.

"I don't care what the authorities say," says Murphy. "Let them do what they want, I'll fight it in court because he's a danger."

It is alligator mating season, and the reptiles are more active.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission recommends pet owners keep their pets on a leash, especially around bodies of water.

Murphy says he plans to install an electric fence.

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