Well, it was bound to happen sooner or later, my poor puppy got bitten on the muzzle by a pygmy rattler. This afternoon, while mowing the front lawn, I saw a snake go curl up betweeen two trees. I made the mistake of yelling “Oh Shit!”, which brought puppy on the run. She didn’t see the snake I was pointing at and actually ran over it twice. I backed up the mower, turned it off and ran to the garage to grab a shovel. As I rounded the corner of the house, I could see puppy had finally seen the snake. The snake struck at her twice before I could get to them. I yelled at puppy to move as I drove the shovel down into the middle of the snake.
Puppy thinking the snake was disabled, snatched the thing up and shook her head vigorously from side to side, repeatedly whiplashing the snake. She always does this to snakes, I think she hates them as much as I do. Thinking all was well, I take the shovel back to the garage while puppy played with her snake. As I came out of the garage puppy ran by and stopped in the grass to rub her muzzle. That’s when I saw the blood. Hoping the blood was from shaking the snake, I lead puppy through the garage into the kitchen to have a look. I quickly grabbed a hand towel and wetted it down. Kneeling down to puppy’s level I try to wash the blood off her muzzle. UH OH! The blood washed off, then kept reappearing. Thinking I was imagining it, I try to scrub her muzzle again and she yelps. NOT GOOD!
Mom, sitting in the dining room notices what I’m doing and asks what’s going on. With a trembling voice I said, “Mom, I think pup has been snake bit! The bleeding is not stopping, so it’s her blood and I think it was a rattler!” Mom instantly starts crying, thinking puppy is going to die. Oh hell, I don’t have time for this. Somehow I managed to get the name of the vet out of mom, hurrying to my room I grab my phone and look up the vet’s number. I call and tell him my dog has been snake bit, probably by a rattler. He gives me directions to his office and asks how long ago this happened, I tell him it’s been maybe twenty minutes and I’ll bring the snake with me to be sure. After hanging up, I chunk my phone into my purse, find puppy’s leash and away we go. By the time we reached the first gate in our drive (50 yards from our house) I notice puppy’s muzzle has swollen up so much she’s having problems breathing and her left eye is almost closed. I quickly send a prayer up and start telling puppy she’ll be okay as I’m doing 60 down the 3 miles of gravel/dirt road. Once we got to the highway, I checked puppy and floored it. We reached the vet in record time.
I jumped out, grabbed puppy, my purse and the 5 gallon ice cream container that I had put the snake pieces into. We rushed into the vet’s lobby, I put the snake in it’s container onto the counter and turned around to see the vet scooping puppy up in his arms. Wow, she NEVER let’s anyone pick her up. The poor baby was trembling on the table as the vet inspected her muzzle. He first gave her a shot of anti-venom and then told me to hold her head because the next shot she really wasn’t going to like. It was an antibiotic shot, and she somehow got her head away and bit the vet before he could fully administer it. So after puppy bites him, she tries to jump off the table with a needle still stuck in her. Fortunately, I got her in a head lock before she could bail. Then the vet tells me that this shot is thicker and there’s more of it as he continues to inject her. Poor puppy cried and bucked against me the whole time he administered the shot. At last we’re done and the vet goes to inspect the snake. He confirmed it was indeed a pygmy rattler. He also told me that though the pygmy is not as long as a normal rattler (hence the name pygmy), they do tend to be thicker with much more muscle. I told him when I hit the thing with the shovel, I didn’t hear a rattle and I couldn’t see it’s head. But the fact that it was shaking it’s tail like a rattler and I remembered the markings from a prior encounter, I had been pretty sure this was a rattler.
As the vet prepared the follow up meds he continued to chat about the pygmy rattler. He has been here since 1981 and according to him from 1981 to 1996 most of the snake bites he saw were due to copperheads. From 1996 to now, he hardly sees copperheads anymore. He thinks the pygmy rattlers have moved the copperheads out and taken over. I personally don’t care, they’re both snakes (ICK) and they’re both poisonous! By the time we discussed the follow up meds (4 pills per day for a week), puppy’s swelling had gone down enough where she was breathing normally and I could see her little brown eye again. The vet asked puppy if she was going to let him make up with her, as he reached down to pet her, she ran behind my legs and hid. Guess she wasn’t in a forgiving mood.
On the trip back home, puppy sat on my leg, leaning onto the center console, soaking up all the petting I gave her. I was just thankful she survived it all, and I get to keep my little buddy a while longer. When we got home, puppy followed me into my room and I allowed it, because I knew she still didn’t feel good. Usually, at night she sleeps with my mom in her room, but tonight I figured I would try it. Puppy parked herself on the couch in front of the TV and wouldn’t you know it? Fat Bastard decides today he wants to terrorize puppy. Simon jumped up on the back of the couch and leaned down to swat at puppy’s floppy ears. Damn, this won’t work. Puppy, of course growled and snapped because she didn’t want to be fooled with. So, Simon got what he wanted, puppy was led out of the room and into mom’s bed. Yeah, she’ll be spoiled anyway, mom was happy to have her little bed partner back. This dog has saved me from so many snakes, I was glad to return the favor!