Retired firefighter David Van Buren has had his beloved pet alligator Gwendolyn for an astounding 47 years, since he was just 9 years old. And in those nearly five decades, Buren and Gwendolyn have become inseparable. He even took him (Gwendolyn is a boy alligator, apparently) (alligators don’t care about your concept of gender, okay; they’re very progressive) away to college with him! But now Florida Fish and Wildlife is stepping in, because at a whopping 13 feet long, they claim that Gwendolyn is now too big to live in Buren’s yard.
Gwendolyn’s massive size may be due in part to his diet, which consists of pizza and snack food like Chips Ahoy!, and uh, other stuff that an alligator is supposed to eat, probably. At one point Gwendolyn was even living indoors with Buren, who says, “Once he was in the house, he didn’t want to leave. I think it took us like three weeks to get him to go back outside. He was on the couch all the time or in the bathtub…”
Well, it’s no wonder Gwendolyn is so attached. And thankfully it looks as though he’ll get to stay with his owner, as Florida Fish and Wildlife agree that the best outcome for the gator will be to remain with Buren, pending changes to his property.
This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a story like this. Earlier this year, Mary Thorn of Lakeland, Florida, was in danger of losing her beloved pet gator “Rambo” for similar reasons. There’s been no updates to Thorn’s story, but we hope that she and Rambo are still off riding ATVs together.