This is reality of living in Texas: Rattlesnakes. The Fisherman has a HUGE fear of them as he was nearly struck in the leg by an five-foot rattler when he was a boy. That snake-skin is proudly displayed on a wall in our bedroom.
There are NO snakes on St. Croix. If I remember correctly, there was at one point, then some smart Spaniards/Danes/English brought mongoose to the island to eradicate the rat problem. Rats are nocturnal, mongoose are diurnal. Mongoose ate all the snakes.
We have seen a good amount of snakes at our house and on our property in the last year. Even a BABY rattle snake right outside one of our sliding doors. The Fisherman was quick to cut his head off and transport him to his new home: Our deep freezer.
We also have a HUGE brush pile on our property thanks to what we think was a land scrape after some previous owners were busted for growing The Weed. Our kids play on it, in it, around it. We tell them to watch out, but what can you really do?
And, now we are a snake bite victim family, even if it was just the dog. The Fisherman took him dove hunting this past Sunday with SJ in tow. They were at their second shoot location and Blitz was pretty worn out, staying close.
Blitz made his way to a brush pile and did one of his mile-high jumps out. The Fisherman didn’t think anything of it and continued to look towards the sky for birds. Out of the corner of his eye, he noticed Blitz stagger and fall to the ground. He knew instantly what had happened. He yelled for someone to grab SJ who was right next to him then ran to get Blitz who was only about 10 yards away. In just a few seconds of being bit, Blitz’s muscles were twitching out of control and breathing was labored; blood was dripping out of his nose where the puncture wounds were.
I can only imagine the commotion going on with the other hunters who were shooting into the brush pile to kill and retrieve the bastard snake. Something I do not recommend if you find yourself in a similar situation.
Meanwhile, back at the Holley House, it was after dinner time and I was silently cursing my husband for not being home at a decent time to get SJ to bed. I answered the phone to my frantic husband’s voice and I knew something was wrong. He said what had happened the best he could and my emotions were split between Thank God it wasn’t SJ and Blitz is such a major part of our family….we don’t want to lose him.
The Fisherman was able to get Blitz to an emergency vet clinic in Round Rock in a very short amount of time; time that I think really saved his life. We kept in contact and I could hear in his voice that Blitz was not doing well, but still breathing. Once admitted, anti-venom was administered and he was pumped full of fluids and hydromorphone. Not much else could be done but the veterinarians were extremely optimistic, instructing The Fisherman to return at six am to pick him up. They were allowed to go back and see him to say good-bye. When Blitz saw SJ walk in, he lifted his head and started wagging his tail the best he could. Hearts were melting.
The next morning, when The Fisherman returned home with Blitz, around 6:45am, he did his best to walk in the house un-assisted. He was still extremely weak and still in so much pain. I sat on the floor holding and stroking him. I was so happy he was going to be OK.
The kids walked in a little stunned at his extremely dis-figured face. We instructed them to be careful, but give him lots of lovin! Blitz spent the rest of the day sleeping the best he could with out actually putting his head on the ground. It was so unusual not to have him at my feet at all times. He could not yawn or shake his head. We offered him soft food and all the water he could take in. We were trying to not comment on how we thought the swelling was actually worse. It was.
After another sleepless night, I awoke earlier than normal to check on our canine boy. I heard him move around and was THRILLED to see him come out of “his” bathroom with energy and about 80 percent less swelling! He did his business outside, true to our routine, then hopped up the stairs and JUMPED into bed with The Fisherman. He was just fine.
The difference in 24 hours was stunning. Even more amazing that an animal can make it through such an ordeal. After research on the inter-web, I realized just how lax our family has been and how little we know about what to do if someone is bitten by a snake. Bottom line: Seek Emergency Care Immediately (and call ahead if you can so they are prepared).
Our story is not unique, but now we have the very real knowledge that it does happen, especially given where we live and our lifestyle. Blitz is on day three of recovery. My house is a wreck with chewed up sticks, he’s chasing lizards at the garden and comes running when he hears the ice maker. Back to our Blitz. And one other thing that helps me justify the vet bill: Blitz now has antibodies for any future rattle snake bites. Blitz’s rattlesnake has now joined his brethren in our deep freezer.