Tom Martino said he was taking the dog, named Lizabeth after Fred Sanford's wife in "Sanford and Son," for a walk last Saturday when an alligator lurking in the Hillsborough River near Tampa grabbed her, The Tampa Tribune reported. Martino said he used his licensed handgun to shoot into the water, apparently encouraging the alligator to release the dog.
Martino, for the first time in his life, performed canine CPR.
"She coughed up a bunch of water," Martino said. "I was scared. That's my little baby."
The dog was reported to be in critical but stable condition at Florida Veterinary Specialists in Tampa. Dr. Miryam Reems, one of the vets there, said the dog suffered bite injuries and lung damage from the underwater wrestling match and would probably have died if Martino hadn't done the CPR.
The alligator, measuring 6 feet, 4 inches, was trapped later that day and removed from the area.