Makenzie Noland had a graduation picture taken of her standing knee deep in water - with a giant alligator. She's been working with "Big Tex", a almost 14-foot alligator, all summer.
But Noland insists to Inside Edition that she was never in any danger. I can kiss him on the snout. He will rise out of the water if she gives him the command 'Up, up, up'.
"It's just like how your dog would treat you if you treat him well", Noland told The Eagle.
Handling Tex is part of Noland's job description at the 15-acre center, which rescues "nuisance animals", those who have wandered into people's ponds or backyards, have been stranded after natural disasters, or otherwise don't possess natural hunting skills to survive in the wild.
"In all reality we don't want to bring these animals back (to the centre), we want them to live in the bayous and canals out in the swampy areas", she said. "We'd rather leave them in their natural habitat".
Gator Country Rescue is a 15-acre preserve that is well-known for being a safe haven for alligators and several other reptiles.
However, she is no stranger to petting reptiles, having picked up snakes from a young age. But Noland wants to assure everyone that she always follows safety guidelines set out by the park and would never purposely put herself in any danger.
She said his demeanor reminds her of a puppy.
"I would never do anything to risk my own life". "Animals can react differently to different situations".