74-Year-Old Florida Woman Pounces On Alligator To Save Her Dog

A dog and a cat in a pond with a large fish
Palm Beach Post/Shutterstock

In the heat of the moment, people will do extraordinary things to save their dogs from danger. 

That fact has been exhibited by the lady who got wrecked by a bear while protecting her pups, the girl that chased a bear out of her backyard to save her dogs, the woman who plunged into a frozen pool to pry her dog out from under the ice, man who tackled a bear to rescue his dog, and the fella who punched a kangaroo who was holding his dog hostage.

Plus, there was that time when Danica Patrick either got beat up by some bushes and/or got attacked by a coyote while rescuing her dogs

Now we can add an old lady launching herself onto the back of an alligator to free her dog to the list. 

According to The Palm Beach Post, 74-year-old Suzan Marciano was out for a stroll with her golden retriever mix Nalu at a park outside Boca Raton at around 6:30 PM one evening in late August. 

As the dog splashed out into shallow water, that’s when a gator over 6-feet long attacked the dog. By the time Marciano realized what was happening, the reptile already had its jaws on the canine. 

The lake is a popular destination for water skiers, and with the shallow clear water, she thought it was safe. But then, all of a sudden, she saw a dark shadow creeping up under the water, and soon her dog’s life was in jeopardy. 

The woman sprung into action without hesitation. 

“My heart dropped. I did the only thing I could do. I came down on the alligator with all my weight.” 

As she pounced on its back, the gator released its grip on her dog. She thought she had spooked the gator away, but then it turned back and sunk its teeth into her hand. 

“Providence must have been with me. It was all one big blur. I was in such shock. I didn’t feel any pain.”

Luckily the gator attack didn’t extend beyond the single bite to the hand, and both Marciano and her dog were able to scramble out of the water and onto a nearby trail. As blood poured out of her hand, she began to cry, and in a panic, she called a friend. 

That friend convinced her she needed to seek medical attention immediately, so she headed for the hospital. 

“I almost didn’t go. All I could think was, ‘I want to get home.’ I was in such a terrible state that I wasn’t thinking straight. When I called her, she told me, ‘You have to do something. You need a tetanus shot, and you need the injury looked at. That snapped me back to reality.”

Once at the urgent care unit, she received 5 stitches to her hand, and the wound was disinfected. 

The next step was getting her dog to the emergency veterinary clinic. The dog had deep puncture wounds to its stomach and thigh, and a two-hour surgery was needed to drain and dress the wounds. 

“I had this feeling that she was going to survive. I had this feeling that she was going to survive.”

Marciano reported that the dog was more tired and quieter than usual following the attack, and although they both loved their trips to the park, they avoided going back for a few weeks. 

“I didn’t even want to see the park. I hardly went anywhere for two weeks afterward. I was in such a traumatic state. Every couple of hours, I was breaking into tears for no apparent reason. I was still seeing the shadow with two eyes looking up from out of the water. That image kept coming back to me.” 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission proactively monitored the area but was unable to locate the gator. The Commission takes nuisance gators very seriously and is committed to removing gators that pose a threat to people, pets, or property. 

While no video footage or news coverage of the incident exists, the situation is somewhat reminiscent of this legend who jumped into a lake to save his dog from a gator attack without ever dropping the cigar in his mouth. 

Florida people are just built different.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock