Leroy’s Fatal Encounter

June 10, 2013
Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus)

Timber rattlesnake (Crotalus horridus) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This past week was a bit of a sad one—Leroy passed away. Who is Leroy? My brother-in-law’s bulldog, chow mix. A true sweetheart and a big lug.

Leroy was a rescue. My brother-in-law found him under a car covered in ticks and nothing but a little puppy. He brought him home and took care of him.

This year canebrake rattlesnakes (subspecies of the timber rattlesnake)—all snakes rather—have been more on the move this year more than the prior two years. The prior two years we saw more copperheads than anything else. People in my neck of the woods have already been talking about the amount of canebrakes they have seen and they worry for themselves and for pets.

All for good reason.

Last week a large 4-5 foot canebrake rattlesnake as big around as a man’s arm got into the dog pen with Leroy and his pen mate Jagger (an English shepherd). My step-father-in-law and mother-in-law heard the commotion outside. MIL saw the big canebrake and heard it rattling. Naturally she freaked out.

Leroy would grab the snake, shake it, and sling it around. Step-dad got his automatic shot gun firing one in the air to get the dogs away and the blasting the canebrake into three pieces. He wasn’t taking any chances–he hates snakes.

Leroy lay down on his side and didn’t look well—evident that he had been bitten. MIL rushes him to the vet. Luckily the local vet wasn’t but 10 min away from their house. The vet gave him antihistamines and antinflammatories. Dogs are more resistant to snake venom than humans, but still need to be treated by a veterinarian. It looked possible he didn’t need antivenom, and that is saved for very severe cases—and at $500 a vial…

The vet kept him overnight and he seemed to do better, but then later he made a turn for the worst. Come Saturday morning, Leroy passed away. He had been bitten at least twice. One of the bites was on his tongue. All bites would have been in the face and head. A recipe for disaster.

He will be remembered and missed. *salute and taps*

Just yesterday hubby found a yearling canebrake just a few feet where the tragedy occurred, and it’s not even really summer yet. In about a month or two the gravid females will give birth to live babies fully equipped with venom and fangs.


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AK Taylor

About the Author

AK Taylor

AK Taylor is an award winning YA author who has been writing novels since age 16. Beekeeper, outdoor sportsman, avid adventurer, and animal lover. Taylor lives in the backwoods of Middle GA where she continues to write stories.

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