One of the DD family saw that poor Hoss’s leg had been shaved in a picture yesterday and asked if he was sick…well, the answer is, no he’s fine, but he and his pals Freddie and Zoe, got bit by a copperhead snake three days ago and so they had to spend the day at Dr Bettekers on IV fluids, and have an antibiotic shot, a benadryl shot and be under observation as precautionary measures.
This year, because of the weather, snakes have been far more prevalent than ever before, with copperhead sightings in subdivisions in Suwanee, Dacula, Chateau Elan, Sterling on the Lake to name but a few, and these are just what I hear from my clients. One poor child got bitten last month when a copperhead was coiled around the handle bar of his motorcycle in the garage. Its just too frightening!
On the whole, most local snakes (with the exception of cottonmouths who are just thugs) just want to be left alone to kill mice and rats, eat them, digest them and sleep in cool places. In humid cooler morning weather, they will bask in temperatures of around 68-70 degrees which is most likely what the little horror that bit my three babies was doing when they all decided to terrorise it.
Freddie clearly spied the snake a while ago as has been going nuts at the woodpile over the last week; Hoss, now firmly back at the Ranch and back in full time hunting mode, thinks it’s his duty in life to assist Freddie in whatever killing spree Freddie indulges in; Zoe is in love with the both of them so wants to be a part of whatever they are doing…….. So the three of them no doubt upset a poor snake who just wanted a bit of peace and quiet to enjoy his morning bask and wouldn’t leave him alone, so he did what dogs do when they too are pissed…he bit them.
Does it upset me? Yes that they got bitten, but not that they did so doing what they were programmed to do. All three of them, with thanks to the wonderful staff at Chateau Animal Hospital who, as usual, got us in to see Dr B pronto and ensured that the three amigos were taken care of beautifully, are doing well, albeit with some ‘Nutty Professor’ type features around their muzzles!
Of course, we don’t want our dogs to get hurt, but the whole point of DD is to give dogs a ‘taste of the wild’ so to speak, where they can run free, breathe, hunt, play, roll, dig…do all the things they want to do, completely unfettered. The very environment that provides a plethora of chipmunks, gophers and rabbits to chase and kill will always be a habitat to more darker forces, its just the way Nature is, and I love and understand that about this golden land we live in…..
DD by design is the antithesis of the ‘tame’ rubber floored indoor play area that has become so prevalent over the last decade in America, where the dogs are treated like children and actually have kids play equipment to play on. I have nothing against such establishments and feel very strongly that in the absence of enough outdoor off leash play areas for dogs, there is a need for any environment where dogs can mingle freely with other dogs.
It’s just that, it’s not what WE are about.
So, Pete and I were faced with a dilemma this weekend. Do we rip down the woodpiles that the dogs love so much because of course that is where the snakes like to hang out? Do we stop using the meadows completely until October? Do we put repellent down? That is…if such a thing really is effective against snakes?
Actually, we took advice from snake experts and decided that we were never going to rid our land of snakes, no one can completely do so on any piece of land, which is why the little buggers are all over subdivisions, parks, farms…. you name it, they are there.
But what we can do is make sure the dogs don’t disturb the snakes and piss them off to the point that they feel inclined to bite them.
So, we are going to fence off the woodpiles and give the snakes some breathing space and the ground cover they so desire, and ensure the dogs cannot get to their habitat and disrupt them. Meanwhile, we will set traps in the fenced areas so that we can catch and remove the snakes as we are able.
We firmly believe in live and let live and everything by Gods design.
In His infinite wisdom, he decreed that there would be snakes to kill rodents and keep insects in check.
In His infinite wisdom he decreed that they would inhabit our environment and keep it clean for us.
I’m not going to argue with the Big Guy, but I don’t want any more bitten dogs thankyou very much, so, just for the summer, the woodpiles have to go and we won’t be using them to do outdoor nose work. Don’t worry, we have more than enough activities and places to sniff to keep our beloved rascals (sorry, guests!!) happy here at the Ranch.
Of course if any of you just happens to know a snake wrangler or one of those guys that comes along with a flute and a basket and gets the snakes to follow him all the way to pastures new, I’m all ears!
Stay cool out there, folks and God bless.