What are your worst fears? Think about that for a minute because a whole spectrum of answers just went flying through your noggin’. I have several but my worst is that any harm ever come to my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.
It took several weeks before I could write this. You’ll understand why.
So what are they, loss of a loved one? Absolutely and god bless that never happens. Fear of flying? Ya, since 9-11 it’s all in the back of our minds and I grew up flying with my dad in his planes. Fear of failure or rejection? That’s a big one though it takes real humility within to admit it openly. How about a fear of snakes?
Harrison Ford and I have absolutely nothing in common except for two things. One, we both love his movies. Two, we both hate snakes! And that is absolutely no offense to any of my friends who own snakes. It’s just my own fear.
When I first moved to Reno many years ago I got involved with our local Hasty Team through the Sheriff’s Office and I also became a EMTII medic. I would be outdoors a lot. I received thousands of hours of training over the years from the best of the best in the fields of Auto Extrication, First Responder, High Angle Rescue, Scuba Diving (of which I could not overcome due to my claustrophobia), Swift Water Rescue and Back Country Rescue just to name a few.
I sucked at the rest but I excelled at the Auto Extrication part because I was really good at it. And I got to drive code 3 all of the time in my off time with the Department’s emergency rescue vehicles. I AM kidding on the latter as to it ever being a motivator. It was about saving lives of which I was a part of saving so very many. Next to my kid, the best life experience ever. But, driving code 3 was bad ass. I’m trying to give you a perspective as to how I reacted to the following.
We were told that we would be spending a lot of time out in the wilderness and we needed to be prepared for everything. We had classes and training every week of the year sans holidays. One night I walked into the room and there were a bunch of boxed cages on the ground and it was quiet. It was a snake training class from Dave Doty. This guy was a legend who had been bitten by snakes more times than you can fathom. I shuddered and wanted to bolt but my team members kept me there.
My fear comes from hearing a rattle snake boast with his saber when I was a young boy at Pyramid Lake as my Dad and I were headed back to California. He said they can kill a person. Imprinting a child, huh?
Dave Doty explained about snakes and said they are misunderstood. No, I understood them then and I still do to this day. Stay the eff away. Bullsnakes and rattle snakes are very similar in so many regards. They look similar to the novice. A rattle snake will have more of a triangle-shaped head than a bullsnake and usually be bigger in circumference. A bullsnake can make every sound a rattler can but here is some irony. A bullsnake is often more of an asshole, though not poisonous, with it’s attitude. I am not even remotely a snake expert. I have buddies who live in the rural areas and work in the outdoors daily in their lives so they will understand. And if you have mice or a varmit problem a bullsnake will clear that up quickly for you.
A rattlesnake’s tail will be up and a bullsnake’s will be down on the ground when it’s time to rumble.
As you will notice these pics were taken a few weeks back, hence Phoenix’s longer hair pre-groomer. We go on different routes walking almost every day. Just to change things up. But, our route in the Rainbow Ridge area has brought us great joy from all of the dog walking friends we’ve made over the past 10 years. And this one particular walk beholds a rock that Phoenix has always lifted his leg on. Same rock. 10 years. It’s his rock.
We were coming up the path and I heard this out of ordinary…I don’t know…buzzing sound. My first thought was that maybe it was a home owner (the path backs up to homes) using an electric weed eater? It was just weird because nothing in my visual path saw anything. Yet that extra sense kicked in. The sound was becoming more intense.
Phoenix started his trot up to his rock and I YANKED BACK!!! In the same second it lunged at him briefly then recoiled!
And the tail was up and I could see the rattle…well…RATTLING!!
I LITERALLY LIFTED PHOENIX OFF OF HIS FEET BACK TOWARDS ME I YANKED SO HARD!!! That was first time in his life I have EVER done that to him.
He yelped in pain (or possibly fear from my abrupt action). From which I held in my hands the end of his leash a harm I swore I would never cause him.
That moment sucked more in my life than you will ever, ever know. It crushed me.
Phoenix was literally a FOOT away when I yanked. I’m not a physically strong person by any means but I was in fight or flight mode, leaning heavily on flight.
This was one very pissed off snake. Amazing what adrenalin can do to the human body in the moment. Nothing and no one will ever harm my kid yet….
Phoenix’s feelings were so hurt that his Daddy had done that with the leash as you can see by his refusal to look at me. I’m deeply sorry, buddy. I was protecting you.
Yet, he forgives a minute later. Life lesson for all of us.
The cute girl jogging approached and stopped to pay attention to Phoenix as he obediently sat and she said, “OMG, you’re a cutie! Let me give you a scratch behind the ears!” As she did he leaned into her and fawned over her batting his eyes up at her.
Me interrupting the moment saying to her with a warning, “There’s a rattlesnake right there (pointing at the snake) so be careful.”
Her, “Oh ya, they are out and about this time of year. Good doggie! See ya!” And she trotted off down the path.
Phoenix to me, “You idiot! That’s your best your line?!” *sigh*
At least I wasn’t thinking about that damn snake.
Btw…I always make fun through our banter. Man’s best friend. Unconditional love.