Just a small amount of preamble. I live in the downtown historic district in my real life. I have a nice little house on a nice little lot. I have a flower garden and some grass for the dogs to run and play. The wildlife at my real life house has consisted of a couple of wayward mice, a possum that terrorized our garbage can for a few weeks, a squirrel that climbs the house and looks in my office window while I work and birds that make their nests in our gutters, sit in the tall trees behind the house pooping on our cars and occasionally get inside the house and having to be retrieved with a butterfly net. Last September, David and I bought a house on a somewhat undeveloped cape in Florida. We now have a house on the beach on a cape where the scrub oak out-number the people and a traffic jam is when two cars are trying to pull into the trading post at the same time. While this is technically not quite “rural” living, it is about as close as these two city dwellers will ever get.
I woke up one morning to David screaming my name in his panicked “something bad has happened” voice. He came slamming into the bedroom—Fred (our spoiled rotten female goldendoodle) had been bit by a snake! I bound out of the bed and captured Fred in the bedroom with me and made her lay down on David’s side of the bed and elevate her head on his pillow. Her muzzle had already begun to swell. One quick internet search and a phone call and we were on our way to the nearest Vet’s office. Within 30 minutes Fred was being evaluated. The vet explained to us that Fred had been bitten by a pigmy rattle snake and had asked us if we had killed it. We answered a resounding “NO”. We are peace loving, live and let live kind a folk. Not to mention that we are city folk and therefore have no experience “killing” anything more exciting that a cockroach or wasp that was unfortunate enough to come into our house. The vet looked at us like we were crazy while he explained that these snakes were invasive and dangerous and that he personally kills them on sight. Fred was given several shots and sent home with a 10 day supply of medication to take twice a day. As we drove home, I explained very carefully to Fred that she was a “city” dog and that these “rural” creatures do not take kindly to being kissed directly on the lips.
Armed with righteous indignation and the seal of approval of the vet, David was determined to defend the honor of his beloved Fred. He grabbed the only instruments of death that he owned, a golf club. Seeing David pull out his weapon of choice my first response was “That better not be my club.” Frankly I just didn’t want to be reminded of this incident every time I had to hit my approach shot to the green. Reluctantly David put my club back in the bag and procured a golf club (a 4 iron to be accurate) from his own bag. Using a golf club to bludgeon the poor snake to death seemed cruel and frankly maybe just a bit beyond our competency level. I knew we would need something sharp that could quickly lop off its head. Digging through our limited implements I came up with a piece of PVC sharpened to a point whose customary use was to hold a fishing pole on the beach. I’d like to think it was my 1/8 Indian blood that helped us track the snake to the corner of the pump house but more than likely it was that we started at the place where Fred got bit–either way we found the snake lurking in the shadows of the pump house.
David has become empowered by his new found snake eradication skills. He has purchased a flat ended shovel and now keeps a constant vigil on the yard but to his dismay has yet to find another snake. He has even gone down our street to eradicate a snake that was laying in the path of his parents and their daily walk. I did have to draw the line at him adding the entire street to his containment area. I can only imagine what our few neighbors would think watching David skulk slowly down the street wearing shorts and a pair of green gardening boots carrying a long handled shovel.