Friday, July 23, 2010

Snake Bit

Like mother like daughter, as they say. We have discussed in the past my love of all things fuzzy and furry, slinky and slimy (with the exclusion of one particular worm), feathered and fluffy. Blue had the same affinity for all things in the animal kingdom, with one vast distinction between us; Blue liked the taste of them. Hence, her adoration of the opossum. It wasn’t that she only liked the taste of opossum; it was more that opossums were the only animal stupid enough to let Blue close enough to catch them. We would see Blue eyeing other animals; as I mentioned, our backyard was a bit of a wilderness, especially when we first moved in. So, there were also squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, and all variety of lizards and skinks on the Bludie buffet. But, the problem with said buffet was that it moved, and quickly. We’d see Blue watching all those tasty morsels scampering across her plate, but she just never seemed to be able to rustle up the energy to actually go after one.
Day after day we’d watch Blue as she watched her buffet. We’d watch her glare at a particular squirrel, while practically salivating. She’d lie on the deck, and watch her prey scamper to and fro, and up and down, then she’d let out one of those enormous Bludie sighs, and collapse in some form of attentive exhaustion. She apparently just looked herself into a stupor. But, the opossums and their slow moving sleepy act just seemed to land themselves in the jaws of that enormous slug.
Lazy though she was, she was curious none the less. She was eternally snooping around the back-yard, sticking her nose into every unlikely place she could find, just praying one of those opossums might be lolling about playing dead. We never really worried about this particular habit, as it seemed to be one of the only normal ‘dog type’ activities Blue actually participated in. We should have.
Our small dream home was built directly in front of a small creek, which was separated from our back yard by a six foot privacy fence and a plethora of passion flower vine. The creek would rise and fall depending on the amount of rain we received, and supported a full ecosystem right behind my home. All form of flora and fauna flocked to the water, and we watched them without realizing the seedier side of life was living right under our noses.
One night we went out to grab a bite of dinner, leaving Blue and Inky to make their way in and out of the doggie door at their leisure. We decided after dinner to catch a movie, and so we returned home even later than was usual. Per usual, we entered a dark house, with two balls of fur laying in the entry way to greet us, but we could sense immediately that there was something horribly wrong on this occasion. Before we flicked on the light we could hear that Blue’s breathing was labored, and she seemed to actually be moaning in pain. I rushed to turn on the light, and Mr. Big Prize rushed to Blue. Once the light was on we were horrified by the sight that met our eyes; Blue was laying on the tile of the entry way, face on the ground, with her muzzle swollen to 4x its normal size. How she was managing to breathe at all still amazes me. We were stunned, horrified and perplexed; what on earth was going on, and what could have possibly caused this? Then, we saw them, the two puncture wounds on the bridge of her long nose, spaced almost exactly one and a half inches apart. “Laine”, MBP exclaimed, “Blue’s been snake bit”. Once again MBP was in a panic over his baby and looking to me for some kind of guidance, and once again I was clueless as to how to help. God totally knew what he was doing by never giving me actual human children, but I digress.
Luckily, we live in an area that actually has a 24 hour animal hospital. MBP fired off a call to the brilliant staff of said establishment, only to be told “she’s been snake bit”, and “give her a Benadryl and bring her in if she seems to worsen”. Yeah, really.
So, we forced a Benadryl down her poor throat, and stayed by her side all night long. We tried to get her to stay in bed with us, but apparently the bed wasn’t cool enough for her poor miserable hugely swollen face. So, MBP and I alternated between spells sitting on the tile floor with our 105 pound swollen faced baby, as she literally moaned and groaned and fidgeted through the night. It was the longest and most miserable night of all of our lives.
The next morning, her face was still huge, but not quite as wretched as it had been the night before. We took her off to our vet, who once again proclaimed her ‘snake bit”, (really Einstein?) and recommended we keep her on her Benadryl treatment and watch the puncture sights for infection (again, thank you for your brilliant guidance). Then, he threw a REAL gem at us with ‘Man, this was one heck of a snake that got her too. Probably a big’un. Copperhead, more than likely. Lucky she’s a big thing’. I’m sure you are all thrilled to see that tender hearted medical professionals exist in veterinary care as well as human care…. We left the vet to buy all the weed killer and Snake-Away our local hardware store had on-hand, and suddenly viewed that lovely creek as the center of evil.
Our Bludie recovered, after days of pampering and babying from MBP and me, but she kept those two perfect puncture marks on her beautiful muzzle for the rest of her life. They were one of the last things I saw of her on the day we lost her. They were part of what made her so special and unique, and were a very visible reminder that in many many ways, our Bludie truly was snake bit!

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