International dog judge shares a humorous lesson in safety and voice commands that could save your dog’s life – and your peace of mind!
Rattlesnake Warning Is Fooey!
I was cutting up a dying tree that I had to maneuver in a certain direction so that it wouldn't fall onto the house. When I turned off the chain saw in order to pick up some of the logs, I heard my dog barking... about 30 feet or so away.
Upon investigation, I found a coiled-up and rattle-warning snake. I told the dog "Fooey!" (the usual word for "No!" that is used by Schutzhund trainers), and we went back to the house for my shotgun.
Fortunately, the rattlesnake was still coiled up where last seen and I blew its head and several inches of neck off. I put the head in a deep hole (they can still bite after death and separation!) and carried the rest of the body off in a bucket.
The pup was very interested, but I repeated the training command to reinforce the lesson that he was not allowed to approach it.
I cut the belly-side, peeled the skin off, salted it down and tacked it to a board to dry and to let ants clean off the wetness. It would make a good hatband later, after curing with some tannin and then a tiny bit of mineral oil for suppleness. I have made several hatbands and belts over the years from such skins.
If birds don't eat the snake eggs today, I'll have to burn them or chop them up for safety's sake. The meat is now marinating in vinegar and herbs in my refrigerator. Will fry it in olive oil, later. Yum!
The lesson here is that any dog should bark at a snake, not attempt to sniff it or make friends with it. This could have been a copperhead or coral snake, two of the deadliest snakes.
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