Last night at sunset I let Cooper out to make his rounds and mark his territory like the he-mutt he is, but about 20 seconds after I closed the door he started barking like a little mad man. He had something serious going on so I looked out the door and John came from his shop, both thinking we would see a strange vehicle or one of those creepy have-hammer-will-work-for-food guys in the drive. Nope.

It was a 3.5 ft. rattlesnake half-coiled 12 feet away from the front step (where Cooper was barking) and right in the middle of the 5-foot space between our car and house where we walk all the time. John opened the front door for Cooper to retreat to a happy place in the safety of his home, I put the smack down on the snake with my not-so-sharp-anymore sickle-type weed whacker and John disposed of the body. It takes a village to dispatch a snake around here.

We really praised Cooper for barking before we put him in the house and after we went back in get him out from under the table. We started, last year, training him to bark at the snakes rather than just running to hide so he could help us locate and eradicate them when they come down around the house. It’s also really helped his confidence. He definitely used a watch-dog voice to let us know about the snake. He was all “Intruder alert!! Call 911! Intruder alert!! You do not belong here!!” rather than an “Oh, lawd! I’m gonna die out here!!! Why meeeee!!”

It took a little coaxing to get him past the snake spot that night (some blood spillage occurred during the fracas), but once he was past the spot he was all happy and full of himself again — as he was this morning too.

Every day should be Super Cooper Day at pam[at]