The dogs had been barking for a while; what was wrong with them? At first, Phil Hendra thought little of it and went back to his family dinner. However, when his son pointed out something unusual on the porch, he realized what the source of the disturbance was – and how much danger they could be in.
The day had begun more languidly with the Hendra family visiting relatives in East Fort Myers, Florida. Phil was visiting his parents, Richard and Teddi, at their home in Lee County. Also along for the visit were Phil’s three children, Casey, Zachary and Phillip Jr.
The day was March 18, 2016, and the family were enjoying a meal together when something disturbed them. It was actually the second-youngest Hendra – ten-year-old Phil Jr. – who spotted the intruder first. He subsequently told the others that he’d seen a “funny dog” through the window.
Casey, 12, and six-year-old Zachary joined their brother and they saw the intruder, too. It was just relaxing outside the Hendra house enjoying the sun. At first, it was oblivious to its growing audience and if they made the creature uncomfortable, it gave no indication.
When the adult Hendras went to investigate the “funny dog,” they couldn’t believe what they were seeing. In fact, it wasn’t a dog at all, but something much more unusual. Indeed, it left the family stunned, especially since they could see it at such close proximity.
The animal wasn’t an unusual dog but a large cat known as a Florida panther. Like all big cats they can be dangerous but, initially, this one didn’t worry the amazed family. “We were not scared at all,” Phil told the NY Daily News.