74-Year-Old Florida Woman Rescues Dog From Alligator Attack

The daring pet rescue left the 74-year-old woman and her beloved dog Nalu with injuries, but both have since been able to resume their walks together.


Image via Getty/Elizabeth W. Kearley


A quick-thinking Florida woman was able to fight off an alligator after it latched onto her beloved dog during an otherwise uneventful walk.

Suzan Marciano, 74, told regional outlet Palm Beach Post that she was walking her dog Nalu near a lake at Burt Aaronson Park late last month when the golden retriever mix—temporarily off the leash—made his way into the water. At the time Marciano said, she and Nalu were engaged in a game of fetch.

Standing near the edge of the water, Marciano saw a “dark shadow” in the otherwise clear and shallow water, ultimately realizing upon closer inspection that it was an alligator said to have been at least six feet in length. When Nalu was attacked, Marciano acted fast.

“I did the only thing I could do,” she said. “I came down on the alligator with all my weight.” The effort worked, at least in terms of rescuing Nalu, but its success was swiftly followed by the alligator then turning its attention to Marciano. The gator bit into her hand, though Marciano says she “didn’t feel any pain’ in the moment.

A friend then advised Marciano to visit a hospital for her puncture wound and to get a tetanus shot, advise Marciano says helped snap her “back to reality” after the incident. Nalu, meanwhile, was taken to an emergency animal clinic where the beloved pet underwent surgery for stomach and thigh wounds.

An officer with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC), working with a park ranger, was not able to determine the exact location of the attack. At the time of their inspection, per an incident report, neither official observed a gator.

Complex has reached out to a FWC rep for additional comment. 

Latest in Life