From the Editor: May 2019

While our dog, Nixie, may look like a big ball of lovable fluff, she is in reality our fearless protector.

One particularly hot and wet July several years ago, we came back from our family vacation to a backyard of foot-tall weeds invading the variegated periwinkle that serves as ground cover.

Conveniently, I had other obligations, so my husband and teenaged daughter tackled the hot work of removing the weedy interlopers from the naturalized bed that stretches across our property. Nixie was patrolling the yard, chasing squirrels and enjoying time with her people.

My daughter had popped inside to get a drink, leaving my husband to continue working. Hearing the dog yelp loudly, he quickly crossed the few yards separating them. He found her rolling around in the high grass and vines — a rank, fishy smell hit his nose.

Knowing how much she enjoyed malodorous substances, he called the dog. She tried getting up to come, but her back left leg buckled under her.

Now worried, my husband picked up Nixie and carried her gently inside for a better look. It was clear something was very wrong with her leg.

The vet discovered two small snakebites – likely from a juvenile copperhead.

She was lucky to survive, and we were lucky she found the snake. It gives me chills thinking, “What if?” What if my daughter had gotten to that spot of weeds before the dog had? What if the snake had still been there when my husband picked Nixie up?

She still has two sizable scars on her back leg, where the fur will never grow back. And I am still grateful that we have such a good dog.

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