Reserve Deputy Tim Fitzpatrick and Officer Stephen Cantelli were likely in disbelief when their flashlights found a dog stranded in gator-infested marshes. It isn’t clear why the Pittie was tossed 30 feet off the I-130, but there she was, in the dark and in very serious danger.
Dubbed “Ally Gator,” the dog swam for more than an hour before police and fire fighters prepared to help her. The St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office and Animal Control arrived with the St. Rose Fire Department and lowered a ladder into the black waters.
Fire fighter Eddie Simpson ushered Ally to the base of the ladder and tucked the gentle pup under one arm. (That’s a Pit Bull. Lifted with one arm. And carried up a ladder.) You can watch the rescue in action below—it’s like Ally knew she was safe, even with this stranger.
Note: the footage below briefly depicts a puncture wound at 1:54 that may be unsettling to some viewers.
In just 45 minutes, the (heart-pounding) part of the rescue was complete. According to the sheriff’s office, Ally was approximately 5–7 years old. She had some skin issues and deep wounds from an alligator bite over her back and hind end. Shelter Director Angie Robert told Patch:
The bite radius from top to bottom was about six inches, so this was a good-size alligator, I’m guessing about six feet. She was definitely dragged under the water for quite a while, because she was throwing up swamp water for a good week and a half.
All of Ally’s veterinary care was covered by an outpouring of donations when a woman named Dina Alborano and her family in New Jersey expressed interest in adopting her. Out of 20 applicants, Alborano was chosen as Ally’s new human.
Ally made the journey from Louisiana to Jersey with the help of volunteer transporters. Alborano told the St. Charles Herald Guide:
She’s probably the friendliest dog I’ve ever encountered. She’s just so lovable, so well-behaved… I love her to death. She’s been perfect.
The pup’s new mom added that while it took Ally—now Lady Gator—a bit to acclimate to the cooler temperatures and the new environment, she has not stopped wagging her tail. The family also has four horses, two other dogs, and a pot-bellied pig with whom Ms. Gator has fallen hopelessly in love.
“She’ll play hide-and-go seek with our pot-bellied pig,” said Alborano. “It’s so funny how they interact. She’ll sleep right next to [the pig]. She gets along so great with the other dogs and she loves our horses. She’s been all I expected and much more.”
Whatever the circumstances that brought her to this point, we are equally grateful to the officers, fire fighters, shelter staff and volunteers, and of course, the Alboranos for helping Ally heal in every way. We’re sure she would be thrilled to know she’ll never meet another gator again.