Cosmo loved to chase lizards, birds and ducks.
Chasing a duck cost the 7-year-old Yorkshire terrier her life Friday afternoon at the Estero Country Club when an alligator came out of a pond and snatched her as she chased her feathered friend.
Cheryl Young of Fort Myers was out watering recently planted rose bushes on Lost Creek Drive and Cosmo was outside with her, but not on a leash.
“I understand the issue with keeping a dog on a leash,” she said. “But Cosmo was so happy to be outside hunting these lizards. I never thought there would be an alligator right there.
“I dropped the hose and ran after her to get her,” a sobbing Young said Saturday. “It pulled her in. I went to run into the water to get her and I fell and I couldn’t see the alligator.” She knew she shouldn’t have tried to go into the water, but was panicked.
“I knew at that point there wasn’t anything I could do,” she said.
A trapper caught the 5-foot-long critter about 6:30 p.m., said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. spokesman Gary Morse.
Officials told Young the gator appeared to have a full belly, so it probably didn’t eat Cosmo. The Yorkie’s body surfaced on Saturday afternoon and Young plans to cremate her.
Alligators snatching dogs is fairly common and Morse stressed that alligators can be found in just about every setting in Florida.
“Small four-legged animals are an alligator’s natural prey just like raccoons and other small creatures,” he said. “People should not walk their dogs down by the lake and should avoid swimming where alligators are known to be or where there is a lot of vegetation.
“These things are especially true between in the hours between dusk and dawn but alligators can be active any time of the day,” Morse said.
But, this gator wasn’t afraid of humans, Young said.
“It just came right out of the water at the 16th hole,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how fast it took her. I was maybe 6-feet away.”
Typically if alligators have lost their fear of humans, they have been fed.
“The alligator, they always say they are afraid of humans, but this alligator was right by me. It didn’t seem afraid of me at all,” Young said. “It’s a golf course. You don’t feel like you’re in the middle of the wilderness. There’s always people here. You just don’t feel like it’s a dangerous place. I still don’t feel like it’s real.”
E-mail Valli Finney at email@example.com