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.