My Furry Four Footed Heroes 0r How My Dogs Saved The Day
We get caught up in our daily routine until our tasks almost become second nature. One of those tasks for me is to check on the animals’ water buckets, making sure they have plenty of water. One morning last summer was a day like any other. I noticed that one of the buckets had been turned over and needed refilling so I grabbed the hose and began filling it. While I was doing this I heard Anna, our Great Pyrenees, barking at something over in the scrubby underbrush between my studio and our barn, about 20 feet away. Anna is the alpha dog in our pack, and when she barks, the other dogs listen. This bark was an alert; something was wrong. I started walking towards the dogs that had gathered around something on the ground, barking along with Anna. Suddenly she lunged at something on the ground, biting at it and slinging her head around. Our Doberman Willie lunged forward and grabbed at whatever it was, whipping his head back and forth in what we usually joke as his “killer shake.” Whatever it was flew or ran through the underbrush and I cautiously approached where it stopped to see if I could find it and see what kind of an animal it was. I thought they might have caught a squirrel on the ground, since Willie is an avid squirrel hunter; but no, it wasn't a squirrel. It was a copperhead.
The dogs had bitten it in two, and one of its pieces was only about five feet away from me. I could see the snake was curled up in a pile but I wasn't sure if it was dead or alive, so I went to the barn to get a shovel so I could poke at it without getting too close. I approached it cautiously. It lifted its head and hissed, exposing its venomous fangs. Even though it was missing its tail and would eventually die, it was still alive and dangerous. I used the shovel to push our curious kittens away, to keep them from getting too close and risking a snake bite that could deliver venom. Then I used the shovel to finish killing the copperhead.
After it was dead I eased it up onto the shovel and put it in a bucket to show my brother later. The copperhead was at least two feet long and about 1 1/2" diameter. This was the first time I've ever had to kill an animal like that, and I shook for at least an hour afterwards.
That day last summer my daily routine became anything but routine. It certainly shows me that I can never know what to expect, and to be prepared for almost anything. I checked the dogs carefully for any bites and luckily couldn't find any. Thankfully Anna and Willie and the other dogs were okay.
Yes, my dogs are indeed my heroes!