Gunner will teach kids about safety around wildlife as a part of the Lee County Sheriff's Office's 'Deputy Dogs' program.

By Austin Cannon
December 10, 2020
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Remember the cute 4-month-old Cavalier King Charles spaniel whose owner saved him from the jaws of an alligator a few weeks ago? Well, he has a new job at his local sheriff’s office.

A video posted to Facebook on Tuesday shows Lee County, Fla., Sheriff Carmine Marceno “swearing in” Gunner at his office. The sweet lil’ guy is now a safety officer in the sheriff’s 'Deputy Dogs' program. He even got a shiny new badge. 

“I’m a huge animal lover, so the ending of this story is great,” Marceno says. “Gunner—our detective, the little dog—is safe with its homeowner and it’s just a great day.”

Gunner’s owner Richard Wilbanks held the puppy during his swearing in. It was Wilbanks who jumped into a pond to pry Gunner from the jaws of the alligator who’d grabbed the puppy as he passed by. Dramatic video of the rescue shows Wilbanks going almost fully underwater to save his dog. The hero only sustained one puncture wound while Gunner suffered only minor injuries. 

“I just wasn’t going to let him have my puppy for breakfast,” Wilbanks says in the video.

(The Daily Paws editors would like to add that we're particularly impressed with Wilbanks' ability to keep his cigar in his mouth throughout the entire situation, while literally wrestling an alligator. Legend.) 

First Coast News reports that Gunner will help the sheriff’s office teach kiddos about safety around school buses and water—especially water that might have gators or other predators who could pose a danger to children. 

"We're looking so forward to the program and meeting people, and he's going to be a good representative," Wilbanks told the news station.