Angus vs. The Serpent (The Human Version)

The end of Family Desert Walk Season is very sad.  Everyone loves to go out and explore together.  Until recently, the reason these walks stopped in or around May of each year was the temperature.  This year we were reminded of another, more sinister reason:

One fine evening in June, I had the *brilliant* idea to take William and Angus to water.  Angus loves water, and as long as the dogs can swim and drink, the heat isn’t so much of an issue.  The closest water in the desert was a local preserve, so there we went.

We went to and fro, bouncing through the grass and the brush, in and out of the water.  It was a great time until Angus, Willy and I, walking 3 abreast, came upon the rattle snake.

OK, now is a good time to stop and examine what you have just read and decide exactly where on the Stupid Human scale I should be placed:  1.  The weather is hot, so the rattle snakes are out.  2.   Rattle snakes are most active in the evenings.  3.  Few if any snake bites occur in the wide open.

We are outdoorsy people and we like to think we are intelligent outdoorsy people.  Apparently, not so much.  16 years without a dog/snake encounter made us complacent.  Unfortunately, Angus paid the price.   That puts us on the Stupidity Scale at a 20 on a scale from 1 to 10.

To make it worse, the snake wasn’t in the brush, but right out in the middle of the trail, and we never saw him until he rattled.  Willy was closest to me so I grabbed him and ran.  Angus ran the other way.  After delivering Willy safely to The Crabby Man, I went back for Angus who was still running the other way.  It wasn’t until I was carrying him back to Willy and The Crabby Man that I saw the puncture marks on his back foot.

The Crabby Man saw it all, but never saw the snake strike, so he started taping the snake as I went for Angus.    You will note in the video the panic that occurred when I reached him and said Angus got bit.

Crabby grabbed Angus from me and started running.  It was an uphill, treacherous climb but he never stopped.  Not until we reached the flats did he hand Angus to me, and even then, once he caught his breath, Crabby snatched Angus from me again.  You have never seen 2 old people run so fast.  I layed down with Angus in the back of the Jeep while The Crabby Man drove to the Emergency Clinic which was literally and blessedly only minutes away.

Turns out, Angus was bitten 3 times in the back foot.  He stayed 4 hours at the Emergency Clinic getting his Antivenin and waiting to see if he would have a reaction.  Then I took him home and held him the rest of the night.

The follow-up vet we saw the  next day could not believe Angus had been bitten less than 24 hours before.  At his next week’s follow-up, the same vet said again he had never seen even a ‘minor’ single bite progress as well as Angus’ did.

Despite how “lucky” Angus was, Angus in any form of distress causes me physical pain, his pain caused by my stupidity was nearly crippling.

The story ends happily in that Angus appears to have survived his ordeal with little or no long-term effects.  But it shouldn’t have been a story at all, and I will never forgive myself for that.

I don’t carry ill will against the snake for my stupidity.  Everything is on this Earth for a purpose.  My line of work has put me in the direct line of fire to countless venomous snakes, and yet here I am.  In the scheme of things, snake/human interactions rarely come to injury on the part of the human, but they nearly always result in the death of the snake.  I find that wrong on so many levels.

What you just read is my side of the story.  Angus’ version is completely different, and he will share it with you soon.


8 thoughts on “Angus vs. The Serpent (The Human Version)

  1. Ohhhh ;( Poor Baby!! As much as I hate them, I refrain from killing the poisonous ones until they are actively trying to come into my house or car. Luckily even though we have 5 poisonous snakes in the area I have not had any close encounters with them. Now the deadly, aggressive, stalking green tree frogs are another story.

      1. Oh he’s better alright, but he has a scar – the same scar he flashed in front of my client yesterday who borrowed him for Rental Dogs. That scar earned him a whole lot of extra spoilage, and may cause him to bump Franky as their usual weekly Rental Dog with Gracie.

        What can I say, the boy knows how to work what he’s got!

      1. lol I’ve never let them touch me to verify the deadly part, but I know a man who knew a man who once went to Brazil who told me so it must be true 😛 lol In spring and summer we get green tree frogs, and they attach themselves to the side of my house and my glass storm door to keep the dogs & I from getting inside to the A/C. Unlike normal frogs, these frogs are aggressive. They don’t jump away from you, they jump TOWARDS you. If you aren’t quick they get you an then you’re dead you know or get warts or some other evil thing happens. The dogs and I were pretty sure they had joined the Squirrel-Rabbit Alliance, but the frogs have bowed out due to heat this year, and their territory has been claimed by more neutrally aligned brown toads who are happy to stay away from the door and jump AWAY from the dogs and I 🙂

  2. Oh my, I know first hand how terrible this experience is. On of my dogs, Tag, was bitten right on the nose by a water moccasin on Thanksgiving of last year. Rushing back in to town from the lake we had been visiting was single-handedly the worst experience of my life. She was literally dying in my arms and I had no one to blame but myself. Fast forward a year (and thousands of dollars in vet bills) later and you would never know it happened.

    I am so glad Angus ended up being no worse for the wear just like my Tag. And I completely agree, snakes should never be blamed for following their natural instincts, the only person to blame in this scenario was me! Glad your baby is safe and healthy!

    1. The more I hear from other people, both on the net and in real life, we got VERY lucky. I refuse to kill snakes that turn up on my job sites, and when I used to work with a crew, I made it very clear: Kill a snake, lose your job. I am also one of those people who stops traffic and uses a broom to get snakes off the road. I kinda like to believe that word got out about me within the snake tribe, and therefore Angus was spared somewhat. Still, I wish it were me that was bitten and not Angus.

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