Tuesday, July 19, 2005

We should have named her Lucky

Depending on who you ask, the saying is either "God protects fools and children" or "God protects fools and drunks." But either way, apparently He protects fools. That's a good thing for Gracie the Foster Dog, because yesterday the s.o. discovered her bounding around in circles furiously, barking her head off and worrying a timber rattlesnake.

I never got to see the snake. I was in the shower at the time. Apparently it was lying linearly, with its head raised slightly, as Gracie ran laps and fussed around it. My mother got to see it, though. She and the s.o. were a few yards away from it and it raised up and rattled at them. What a great advertisement for the state of Georgia: She and my stepdad show up just in time for a week of humid 90-plus-degree weather, unusually rampant mosquitoes, and timber rattler.

I never even really got to dry off before the s.o. called me to look at Gracie. The snake had disappeared somewhere (oh, great), and Gracie appeared unharmed. I searched her entire body for puncture marks and then called the vet's office for advice. They said if she'd been bitten, she'd be in a lot of pain and would swell up quickly. We let her into the house and watched her for a while. Pretty soon it was apparent she was absolutely at the top of her doggie game and was feeling quite well, thank you.

I was surprised there had been a rattlesnake in the yard, since the only one we'd ever seen was deep in the woods. Timber rattlesnakes are usually very reclusive and hard to find. Plus, last time I checked we had a kingsnake living under the house. Kingsnakes eat mice, rats, and pesty poisonous snakes.

My mother found a web site that said timber rattlers are very timid and, in times of trouble, tend to freeze and hope to go unnoticed. They'll only attack under extreme duress. I don't know why "two humans standing nearby" is more duress than "crazy barking pogoing dog," but there you go.

She also read that timber rattlesnakes often share hibernation sites with other species of snakes, including rat snakes. So now I'm jittery, supposing that the rattler beds down with the rat snakes I see in the vegetable garden all the time.

Great. Just great. But at least Gracie is okay.