The Tarjick family got a wake-up call like no other Wednesday morning, and they can thank the family pet for keeping them safe. 


The Tarjick family got a wake-up call like no other Wednesday morning, and they can thank the family pet for keeping them safe. 
Bailey, the family's one year-old Blue Heeler, has always been a barker, but when she barked constantly throughout the night Tuesday night, May 24, Todd and his wife Melanie decided to take a look at what could be pestering the hound.
What they found was their pet nose to nose in the back yard with a six-foot alligator.
"We were shocked, that's for sure," said Tarjick. "At first we didn't know how to react or what to do."
After the initial shock passed, the couple called Bailey into the house and contacted 9-1-1 services, who put them in contact with the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
"An agent came out to the house and he was able to secure the alligator, but he gave him one good fight," Melanie Tarjick said.
The alligator was extremely agitated, according to the Tarjick's, and despite being tied down and having his mouth taped shut, the gator still fought against the agent. "He was tied down and everything, and still he nearly broke the back window of the agent's vehicle," Todd said.
The event proved extremely entertaining for the couple's nine year-old son, Tucker, who was given the pleasure of being checked out of school early just to witness the gator experience.
"Tucker is really into this kind of stuff, and we just couldn't let him miss it," Melanie explained.
"The wildlife agent said it was one of the most aggressive alligators he has ever had to deal with," Tucker Tarjick said, who enjoyed the alligator wrangling show. "It was neat," he said.
The alligator was later transported away from the home by the wildlife and fisheries agent and was released into Anacoco Lake, but one particular detail still puzzles both the agent and the family.
"We cannot figure out how he got into our yard," Todd said. "We have a chain-link fence, and we can't find a hole anywhere big enough for him to have crawled through."
The family lives near a large pasture that houses a few distant ponds and creeks, but this is the first time they have ever had to deal with an alligator.
"Before we always had to worry about snakes," said Melanie, who grew up in the Pickering area. "Now I guess we are going to have to worry about much larger animals. We are definitely going to be looking at making a few adjustments to the fence."
There is one positive effect of the 'gator's appearance for the family, and it goes to Bailey.
"We were actually trying to give her away before this happened," Melanie said. "She is a high-strung hound, but after this she will be a Tarjick for life."