ESTERO, Fla. — The day they met, Richard Wilbanks and Gunner were inseparable.
Gunner, a Cavalier King Charles spaniel, snuggled up right next to Richard that first meeting at the breeder’s place in Miami, and that was all the two needed.
Richard took Gunner home to his wife, Louise, in Estero and the now-famous duo are always side by side whether it’s on the couch or out on the lanai that overlooks a wild nature preserve.
The companionship was put to the ultimate test one Sunday morning in late October as Richard and Gunner went out for a walk by the pond just next to the Wilbanks’ home.
The pair were walking along the shoreline where, unseen to either Richard or Gunner, an alligator was on alert.
In an instant, the almost 4-foot