I am never okay with snakes on my property. I'm pretty content in life, but I battle with two distinct things that terrorize my mind from time to time...claustrophobia and snakes. I've never had a dangerous run-in with a snake, but I just don't like them. They send a shiver up my spine when I see them, whether in the zoo or in the wild.
But I digress. A couple nights ago, Dylan and I were sitting on the patio and reading when I noticed that Joe had disappeared to the side of the house and that he was fixated on something in the pile of junk (leftover roof tiles, floor tiles, etc.) in the side-yard. So I got a flashlight and went over and got him. And I'm really glad I did because I think this was the object of his obsession.
So then last night, when Dylan and every member of my neighbor-family were all out of town, I was outside around 8pm closing up the chicken coop for the night. Typically both of my dogs will bark, chase, and growl at every single bird, lizard, leaf, or feather that crosses their path, so I usually don't blink an eye when they stir up a ruckus. But from across the yard, I could tell that the way Joe was crouched down and growling was a little different than the normal.
The rest is a blur. I don't remember when I realized he was attempting to take on a rattlesnake, but somehow I managed to scoop him up, shoo off Ramona (she's the much easier dog) and snap a picture with my phone while I was holding the dog and the gallon jug of ice (now water) that stays in the chicken coop to keep the birds cool. I don't know what was wrong with my fight-or-flight instinct in this moment or why I didn't just drop the jug of water, pick up both dogs, and run for my life, but now that everyone is safe, I'm glad that I got the picture to document the experience. And plus, it's not like it was rattling at us. Aren't we lucky?
I was not about to remove the snake off my property by myself, and since nobody was here, I just hope Rocco the Rattlesnake negotiated his own way out overnight. He was right outside the bedroom window, so I kept peering out with a flashlight, and his escape was not going well. Those drainage blocks are lined with mesh to keep critters (like him) out of the yard, but they do an equally good job keeping them in, it turns out. Hopefully Rocco took care of a few of the rodents that have been stirring up trouble in our yard during his visit. I do know that the dogs will not be going in the backyard and the chickens will not be leaving the coop until we're sure the coast is clear. Thank goodness everyone will be home today!
It was an icky and scary experience, but we are so very lucky that the snake didn't just swallow Joe in one bite. We lost our family shih-tzu when I was a kid after a rattlesnake bit her in the face, so I'm sure things would not have ended well for little Joe if he had growled at that snake for much longer. He's a total pain-in-the-butt dog, but I love him and the Ra-Dog to the moon.
On a totally unrelated note, Happy Father's Day!