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What I didn’t tell you about yesterday’s rattlesnake incident is that Cooper is now on high terror alert about walking out the front door. Getting ambushed from below is very demoralizing for little doggies. Especially when it happens while you’re standing atop the perch you consider to be your safe haven, your special he-manly place from whence you ratted out the last interloping snake to be espied on the premises.

Last night Coop stood at the front door in the universal stance of “Let me out, now, servant,” so of course I got up and opened the door. He stood there about two feet back from the door sill surveying for possible hazards, and decided, “Nope, ain’t going out there alone.” Then he briskly trotted in a little circle that put him behind the door where he jumped up against the door and slammed it shut.

Guess we know what Coop thinks about snakes at pam[at]


Four rattlesnakes on the property in two weeks. Three of them within 12 feet of the front door. Today’s had wedged itself into the space between the house siding and the front steps, so it was at the front door but, technically, also two feet down.

In some ways it seems like I’m splitting hairs to point out that the snake was two feet away when it was directly below the doorway … and normally I would love to jump on the drama of the snake being at the front door … but since we’re talking about a poisonous rattlesnake, I think two feet away from where your feet are and wedged into a pretty tight spot is very significant.

Not quite a mile away, but it was a lifesaver.

John and Cooper walked out onto the landing, heard the snake, and launched into a clear space to reconnoiter. John figured out what was going on and opened the front door to tell me about the snake (unnecessarily at this point because —WTF?! — I could hear it buzzing) and enlist some help. Cooper wanted nothing to do with the front steps at this point, so he was let into the little shop to find a happy place in the nether regions of that clutter. John and I used a broom handle and an aluminum rod, that he produced from who knows where, to herd the snake from its hidey hole, so I could kill it with the weed whacker. (Which is, apparently, my snake-killing weapon of choice since we didn’t put a shovel by the front door until after this latest snake.)

I hate to kill things. I really do. I would have to be pretty hungry before I would kill animals even to feed myself. But somehow killing a rattlesnake that is virtually at my front door doesn’t bother me so much.

Nope. This is the real rub: We have all these frickin’ rattlesnakes here AT the house, and I’m still getting mice?!

Lazy bastards at pam[at]

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]

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