Monday, May 17, 2010

Snakes Are Made of Evil

Indiana Jones totally had the right idea: snakes are made of evil.

Snakes have always given me the jibblies, even the harmless ones. They are so creepy the way they slither!! But I developed a particular dislike for snakes a few years ago when I was in Africa with my dad. One night, while we were camping in the middle of nowhere in Botswana, I almost stepped on a puff adder. Literally. As in: I was about to bring my foot down on top of it when I saw it. In case you've never heard of this particular species of evil, puff adders are extremely poisonous and responsible for more fatalities than any other African snake. If that thing had bitten me out in the middle of nowhere, let's just say I probably never would have had to deal with RA. 

Unfortunately, the evil nature of snakes was fully confirmed on Friday in Groveland. I was sitting by the barn, usefully watching APL's dad, brother, and brother's girlfriend work,  when APL's mom yelled from over by the orchard. She had seen a snake. A rattlesnake. River and her Rhodesian Ridgeback, Sita, had found it. (Sita is the other dog in the picture with River and little T in my last post.)

The first thing we did was check both dogs. They both seemed to be ok. Neither was crying or seemed hurt, and we didn't see any bites. I took both dogs over to the patio and sat with them in the shade. I didn't even really want to see the snake, which was curled up in the tall grass near the orchard, rattling in its evilness. I was more than happy to take the responsibility of keeping the dogs away from it. 

APL's mom got some shovels from the pump house and the family stood around, trying to figure out how to safely kill the rattlesnake since it was on the property threatening the dogs and the family. Luckily, right then two Groveland locals, who had been helping lay the foundation for the barn, showed up. They had killed rattlesnakes before, so they showed APL's parents how to chop its head off with a shovel. 

What followed seemed like a scene out of a horror movie, at least to me, especially considering I was already pretty shaken up over how close the dogs had come to being bit. The headless snake was still moving as it lay there on the driveway. They all picked it up and passed it around, feeling the  dead muscles move, because the body was no longer dangerous without the head. Then, one of the guys decided it would be a good idea to skin the snake. They joked about eating the meat (which I guess people actually do) but really it was to keep the skin. After slicing the snake down the belly, the skin peeled right off, like an evil banana peel. The most disgusting part of this whole endeavor was that the now headless and skinless snake meat body was still moving. I wanted to vomit. 

But this story unfortunately gets even worse. It wasn't until then, at least fifteen minutes later, that we discovered two small, bloody holes on Sita's shoulder and noticed that she had put her tail between her legs and started to act funny. The rattlesnake had bitten her. I ran get APL's mom's purse while his brother got the car. They loaded her in and drove her to the nearest vet, which was 20 miles away.

It has been several days of really painful waiting to see whether Sita will make it. I've been worried about poor Sita and the pain she is in. I've been worried about APL's mom because of how much she loves that pup and because she's now alone in Groveland (as APL's brother and girlfriend went home to DC and APL's dad and I are back in LA.) And, selfishly, I've even been worried about myself. What if River had been bitten? She's 30 pounds lighter than Sita. Her coat is black so we never would have seen the blood like we did on Sita. What would I ever do without my River, who I am so emotionally dependent on right now? (She's curled up with her chin resting on my feet as a type this.)

Although Sita was better off that the bite was on her shoulder and not her face, the venom has killed her skin all the way down her leg and her neck is all swollen. She's been on an IV for a few days and is going to need surgery to close the wound on her leg. But, thankfully, it looks like she's going to make it. She's walking and eating and seems to be doing better. So that is  really good news. It was also good to see how much love there is in APL's family in responding to this emergency.

But, in conclusion, snakes are made of evil. Pure evil.

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