ESTERO, Fla. (NewsNationNow) — A puppy who was rescued by his owner from an alligator’s jaws is now a deputy dog for a Florida sheriff’s office.

Richard Wilbanks was walking with his wife and 4-month-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, named Gunner, when all of a sudden he heard a cry for help from the puppy. An alligator in their backyard pond had Gunner in its grasp. Without hesitation, Wilbanks jumped into the pond, grabbed the gator and pried open its jaws to free Gunner.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office honored Gunner for his “tenacity and fight for survival,” by naming him their “safety and security officer for Deputy Dogs.”

“That tenacity is exactly what we need with our detectives and Gunner is a proud detective today,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno. Deputy Dog is an amazing program and does amazing things and we get to teach children and the youth today.”