“Gator,” a stray dog, ends the year in a joyous way

The dog now named "Gator" was rescued from a pond he got stuck in near the Central Florida Fairgrounds.

The dog now named “Gator” was rescued from a pond he got stuck in near the Central Florida Fairgrounds.


ORLANDO — His name is now “Gator,” given to him by the staff at the Orange County Animal Services. He is not, however, an actual gator but a Shepherd/Alaskan Malamute mix.
He is also, the shelter’s staff notes, one very lucky pooch.
On Dec. 30, as the new year approached, Gator nearly lost his life. While no one is quite sure of how it happened, the stray dog got stranded in a pond, stuck in the mud and in danger of drowning.
The pond was near the Central Florida Fairgrounds. Around 11 a.m., a local resident noticed the Malamute wandering around and called Animal Services, which sent Officers Will Bower and Nicole McKenzie to the scene.
Their timing was excellent: when the officers arrived, they located the dog — trapped in that muddy pond, and clearly distressed.
The officers contacted the Water Division of the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, which sent out officers with a John boat to provide assistance. Together, the officers from both agencies were able to rescue the stranded dog, which they said was friendly and clearly happy to be saved.
The dog is now in the care of Orange County Animal Services, affectionately known as Gator to the folks working there.
What the staff wants to know now is whether Gator is a stray, or a lost dog who belongs to someone.
“While Gator was sporting a collar, there were no tags which would provide information for his previous family,” the shelter noted in a news release. “The officers posted a notice of impoundment in the area and hope to see him reclaimed. If not reunited with his previous owner, the shelter aims to match Gator with a new home.”
An Animal Services veterinarian examined Gator and found him to be underweight. with swollen feet from being water logged. The veterinarian also estimated the dog to be around 3 years old.
“Clinic staff plans to monitor his health during his stay at the shelter,” they noted in the release. “Animal Services is currently accepting adoption applications for Gator.”
Orange County Animal Services is at 2769 Conroy Road in Orlando, and is open for adoptions weekdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and weekends from 1-5 p.m.
Anyone interested in adopting Gator can call 407-836-3111.
Orange County Animal Services is Central Florida’s largest pet rescue and adoption center, and in 2013 they took in nearly 22,000 animals.
Now more than 40 years old, the shelter’s mission has been to protect the animals of Orange County and give abandoned and neglected pets a second chance to live long, healthy lives in safe, loving homes.

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