MERRITT ISLAND, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - On a recent visit to the veterinarian, the first thing six-month-old Chloe did seemed special -- she gave her doctor a kiss.
"She's pretty remarkable. She's tough. And she's as sweet as she is tough," explained owner Jo Ellen Kleinhenz.
You could say, alligator tough. About a month ago, Kleinhenz let Chloe out in her backyard as she usually does, but she didn't notice a pond formed at the back of the property after the hurricane. Then she heard Chloe yelping.
"She was just making this terrible cry, and growling sound. A noise that you won't ever forget?"
What Kleinhenz saw next horrified her. Her dog was in the water about twenty feet away. Something was pulling Chloe under, and her head was just above water, because she had bitten down on a low-lying branch.
"She was fighting to hold on, it wasn't just like a light grasp. Her jaws were around that branch. And I could see her body being tugged on. So, there would have been nothing else that would have made sense except an alligator."
Kleinhenz panicked, but Chloe kept fighting and wouldn't let go of that branch. As her owner and a neighbor were running to the other side of the pond, the alligator finally let go.
Kleinhenz rushed Chloe to Courteny Animal Hospital, and after seeing the alligator attack survivor, veterinarian Elizabeth Chosa closed her front door, so she and her entire staff could work on Chloe.
"I've never treated one before. They don't usually survive, so we didn't really know what to expect," said Dr. Chosa.
X-rays showed the dogs lungs and stomach filled with muddy water. Her stomach, too, along with tree branches. The dog's abdomen was sliced open, and the bones in her hind leg were crushed.
Dr. Chosa and her staff performed four surgeries, some very complex -- and she gave Chloe constant care for week. The puppy did lose her hind leg, but not her life. Her owner is grateful to her vet.
"I love her, oh my God, I love her so much. She's such a part of my family," said Kleinhenz.
A Go Fund Me account has been established to pay for medical bills. You can read more here.