Mikey in front and Gizmo behind.
I had reason to take one of my latest adoptees, Gizmo, to the vets both as an introductory event and also to treat him for what appeared to be blindness in his left eye. He had woken up that morning with the eye totally covered just as though he had cataracts which immediately had me hit the panic button.
A quick phone call and I was on my way to the Vet’s fearing the worst. My particular Vet is a younger guy who has been attending to my animals ever since he joined the Clinic several years ago. We have developed a good relationship and he is never too busy to chat to me about this and that regarding the pets. He has also been the bearer of bad news several times over these past few years when when one or the other has passed on, usually overnight. He is well used to my crying into the phone as I always get upset. The last of these was Petey who died of Heartworm that affected his heart.
On this particular occasion he did not think it a very big deal and explained that for some reason, Gizzy had a pus build up in his eye. He ran a few tests and came back and explained to me what he thought it was and then disappeared to complete his diagnosis. Before he went, I talked to him about an Anti Rattlesnake Injection and he reappeared with the required syringe and phial and proceeded to give Gizzy a shot. I paid for the visit and the prescribed medicines and was reminded to bring Gizzy back in five weeks for a Anti Rattlesnake booster shot.
This was one of the nicer times when I came home with the dog I took in, alive and kicking but it got me thinking about Rattlesnakes. Those of you that follow my stories are well aware of how we lost Richie to a Rattlesnake in my own backyard and worse yet, from under the workshop, last August. I blamed myself following that incident for not cleaning out all of the junk that had accumulated under the shed or at the very least blocking it off to prevent the dogs from getting under there. As usual hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Time passed and being the great healer that it is, plus acquiring two more dogs to keep Ginnie company, blocking off the shed sort of slipped to a back burner and was added to the never ending list of projects, real or imagined. However, it was brought back into focus really quickly when I went out to investigate what all of the ruckus was about with Gizmo and Mikey both under the shed and barking up a storm. Their barks however, were not of the panicky kind that Richie displayed whenever he accosted an animal or snake in his backyard and was hell bent on eradicating them from his world. These were the sort of barks reserved for the discovery usually by scent, of a mouse or a rat that they knew were there but were out of reach. When I lay on the ground to take a look for myself, I could not see anything that was cause for alarm.
However, that did remind me that I needed to make that area more secure and prevent the dogs from getting under the shed. I knew I could not stop the snakes or any other small wildlife from doing whatever they wanted to do and going wherever they could get and my easiest course of action was to prevent the dogs from getting where I did not want them.
I really didn’t want to enclose all around the entire shed as it was a lot of work. I know as I had just replaced the skirt boards on three sides. I got me thinking about the best way to handle the situation and then it occurred to me that I already had the sides blocked off and all I had to do was block off the front area under the small deck. On the left facing the shed, I already have a pair of wooden doors that shuts off that side of the shed completely. On the right, I have the fenced in area that I use for storage and the compost heap. Both of these are absolutely small dog proof and even Mikey who is a prodigious jumper can’t clear the fence or gate to get in.
Without further ado, I unscrewed several of the deck boards attached to the workshop so that I could get to the area and proceeded to get to work. I had several pieces of the plastic lattice which is easy to work and cut and fitted the stuff in and around the different obstructions that always seem to be in the way on any of these sort of projects. I was in no hurry and spread the work out over a couple of days stopping for a cuppa when I felt like it or even making a fuss of the dogs as they came by. Mikey likes to help which mostly consists of just getting in the way but I do relish his company. Gives me someone to talk to and reminds me a little of Richie.
I finished the project and feel much better that we have shut off one of the several different areas around the garden that snakes and such can crawl (or is the word slither?). That does give the dogs a fighting chance of at least sighting the snake before it strikes which was not the case with Richie. Whether they will run away or stand and bark remains to be seen and of course, it all depends on the snakes. A hot dry summer and they may well be in because of the proximity of the water in the ponds. BTW, I do not kill the snakes but try to “persuade” them to leave usually with the use of a water hose. Whether I would have killed the snake that got Richie, I don’t know how to answer that as I don’t know what my reactions would have been. As it was, I was more concerned in getting him to the Vet’s. I didn’t see that Rattler and to date have yet to see one either in the garden or in the wild even on all of the hikes that I do. Plenty of Tree snakes and Water snakes but no Rattlers or any others of the poisonous variety.
Oh yes, when I take Gizzie back for the booster shot, the other two dogs will also go with him to start their Anti Rattlesnake Series. Such is the life of a dog owner in Texas.