Hunter Mark Hall recalls a narrow escape of his beloved retriever in the early 2000s.
“She ran out toward the reservoir behind the lodge and when she came back after a while I noticed she was walking funny so I went over to her. She was a bloody mess and I figured there might be no way she was going to live. It was obvious a gator had attacked her.”
“When I tried to pick her up, it put her in terrible pain because her hips were in bad, bad shape. The car was 100 yards or so off and she followed me all the way with messed up hips and teeth marks all over. She then hopped up in the pet porter like she always did and rode to the vet without a complaint.”
After expensive surgery, the dog recovered and returned to the marsh to hunt again.
“After my dog narrowly escaped a big alligator, I now refuse to bring a dog into the marshes I hunt during September. You might not want to go that far, but you should be mindful of the danger,” Hall said.
A few years back, Bert Hebert took his new puppy, Maggie, out for her first retrieve along the Neches River: “I took my Labrador retriever pup down to the boat ramps at Port Neches Park to give her a first experience at retrieving a dummy in the water. I thought this would be a safe place, since it is often frequented by other dog owners, as well as kids swimming and boaters. After about a dozen successful retrieves, I saw a monster rise up out of the water. It was an 11- or 12-foot alligator and it started swimming with purpose toward my dog.
“My only thought was to jump in and rescue the pup, standing waist deep in water. I began to slap the water frantically. The splashing caught the attention of my pup and she turned and began swimming toward me. The gator evilly submerged below the surface.”
A nuisance alligator control officer ended up taking that monster gator out of that spot, and another that inhabited an adjoining canal that ran behind a school. In recent years, numerous hunters have lost their dogs to alligators along the Texas Coast and in East Texas.
My first experience with this was when a woman living on the banks of Adams Bayou across from my grandmother had two big Dobermans disappear. One day, I went over and asked what happened to her dogs.
“An alligator got them–both of them last night,” she said.
Ever since then, I have been very guarded about bringing my dogs around water, and always warn others to be mindful of alligators especially during the early teal season that is going on right now.
That’s good advice for anyone in any situation.
Chester Moore, Jr.