When a Florida woman let her puppy into the backyard to go to the bathroom, she did not expect that there was something frightful waiting for her. Then, the dog’s owner heard a horrifying yelp!
After Jo Ellen Kleinhenz from Merritt Island let out her mixed-breed dog Chloe into the backyard, she heard “this terrible yelping noise, just this awful, awful sound,” as she recalled. She rushed outside and saw Chloe in a deep puddle, clinging to a tree branch with her mouth, fighting desperately as something tried to drag her under.
Chloe had bypassed through a neighbor’s wooden fence entering their premises, which had been partially flooded by Hurricane Irma. What else could have been towing Chloe down but an alligator!
Despite the gator’s fierce grip, the dog held onto that branch for dear life until the gator finally gave up, released her, and disappeared into the pond.
Then Jo Ellen immediately rushed Chloe to the vet.
“She had a penetrating abdominal wound, so I think the gator had originally bitten her in the stomach and pulled her down,” Dr. Elizabeth Chosa of Courtenay Animal Hospital told Florida Today. “She had a crushing injury—penetrating wounds and broken bones—in her back left foot. And she had a few other bite wounds on her left shoulder.”
“Her stomach was full of swamp water. Her lungs were full of swamp water. So I actually thought she might not survive the first 24 hours because of the near-drowning,” Dr. Chosa added.
The vet performed a four-and-a-half-hour emergency surgery on Chloe. “Once I opened her abdomen, I had to cut open her stomach and remove a bunch of sticks and leaves because she had held onto the branch with her mouth while the gator was biting her. She had chomped over and over on this branch,” Dr. Chosa recalled.
Chloe underwent three more surgeries and her hind leg had to be amputated, but despite all that, the dog is still in good spirits.
In a Facebook post by Courtenay Animal Hospital, they shared: “Chloe is already running around like she never had four legs! She seems to feel soooo much better without that painful foot. Less than 24 hours after surgery, she was already moving around really well and learning to potty on 3 legs. The hardest thing now is keeping her quiet & still enough to finish healing!”
Upon seeing Chloe now recovering, Jo Ellen said, “She’s such a survivor. She’s so strong.”
For Dr. Chosa, this was the first time she has treated a dog that had been attacked by an alligator.
“Every time she sees me, she wags her tail. She licks me. She loves me,” Dr. Chosa said. “A lot of dogs would try to bite me. A lot of dogs would be cowering when they see me. And this dog is just so resilient. She’s so inspiring.”
“I feel like if everybody in the world had the same attitude that Chloe has, the world would be a better place.”