Friday, March 28, 2008

Rattlesnake Scare!

This evening at around 7 p.m. Dan and I had just finished dinner and were unwinding with some wine. I was watching a real estate show and Dan was tinkering on the computer. I heard Brody our beloved 3 year old Bichon Frise barking in a highly agitated way and when he wouldn't chill out after I called for him to settle down, I looked out the window to see what was going on.

I noticed his bark was unique, not playful like when he is chasing prairie dogs, lizards or bunnies, or trying to get attention from Alfie and Katie. In fact, his bark was almost unlike anything I had ever heard before. I saw him literally bark and BACK UP from where he was facing so I screamed for Dan to go and check it out while I went outside and yelled for Brody to get in the house. By a miracle of God, Brody came in the house. We work on emergency recall once in awhile (NOW!), but he is a free spirit and I never want to squash that, so we accept his relaxed approach to obedience.

Dan looked around and screamed for me to call the Herpetological Society because he found a rattlesnake in our yard! I was hysterical, I have a deep fear of snakes and I would most definitely die of grief if any of our pooches died from a snake bite. I constantly worry about their safety because we live in an area where everyone has 1 plus acres of land and it is designated as NAOS (natural air open space), meaning it is natural desert and we have literally seen huge owls, javelina, bobcats, coyotes and snakes in our neighborhood.

I immediately called the Phoenix Herpetological Society (http://www.phoenixherp.com/content/) and they agreed to come out right away. The sun started to set but Dan kept watch of the snake. I could not find a flashlight so Dan used one of our solar outdoor lights to keep the snake in view. After about 30 minutes, a man and his two young sons came to help us. By now the snake had moved from near the pool pump to the back center of the yard.

I heard the man say "There are TWO of them" and I screamed "Jesus, GOD!". I think in a moment of complete hysteria I subconsciously turned my intense fear over to God. I also started to feel nauseous, fear is a strange feeling. Then the man announced the second one was DEAD! It had gotten stuck in the chicken wire Dan put around our tangerine tree. While I don't like snakes, I don't want to see them reach an untimely and painful death. I gave the man scissors to cut the snake out in a dignified manner and foolishly watched as he removed the dead snake. That memory will linger with me for a long time as I battle sleeplessness.

We spent a long time talking to the expert about how we can prevent this from happening again. We are putting up a special fence this weekend and as always, will be on extra special alert when our pooches are outside. We will also have our landscaper cut our bushes so they don't brush the ground.

I will say that Katie and Alfie just don't have the adventurous curiosity that Brody does so I feel less worried about them; HOWEVER, I cannot say how INTELLIGENT I believe Brody is. Somehow he knew the snake was dangerous and not a plaything. I also give the kid a lot of credit for coming inside when I demanded it, he hasn't done that before when he was on a lizard or bunny chase.

Even though there is a happy ending tonight, I still cried at the thought of losing Brody in such a senseless way. I am glad Dan did not kill the snake and made the rescuer promise he would release it in an area where it would have a chance to live but not bother man or domestic pets. Life ALWAYS has something in store you never expect... but I was certainly reminded to appreciate what you have today, life is fragile.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

V. Good Fortune Cookie!

I rarely eat Chinese food, but I had a taste for it on Thursday. So I tried a new restaurant in Charlotte before I left for the airport to come home. I was THRILLED with my fortune cookie message:

"Good news from afar can bring you a welcome visitor."

I am praying for a DOUBLE WHAMMY any day now... first, news of getting out of PGN for our son in Guatemala, and news of getting out of the CCAA review room for our daughter in China. Now THAT would be "Good news" indeed!!!