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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Rest of the Snake Tale

Yesterday I posted prematurely, before all the facts were in. Normally, I don't do any writing on a Monday, because that is my day to be up and about when Lawrence sits with Bow. I have plenty of time to write and edit all during the week, so it would be a waste to spend the few hours I have away from the pens writing. But when Lawrence related the story of the black rat snake to me, and Bow was happy and content, lying around chewing his cud after lunch, I thought I had a few moments to jot down what had happened before Lawrence came back to relieve me after lunch. I was just re-reading my post one more time for typos, when Lawrence came back.

By this time, Teyman, our little rat terrier mix, was yapping away in the yard, and I suspected that she might have finally noticed the snake. Teyman is a hunter. I have seen her kill squirrels and unearth moles, and she is definitely a snake killer. The rat snake had been left unmolested on the other side of the fence, so it was possible that it had made his way into the yard, and now a fierce battle between dog and snake was raging.

I got ready to leave the pens, as Lawrence was back in charge, and Bow, hearing Teyman all excited in the yard, stirred himself from the corner of the pen where he had been lazing, took Lawrence's hand and spelled: "I want to go outside."

Lawrence decided to take this opportunity to pressure Bow into telling him how he had known about the snake. (Bow had refused to say before, but now he needed Lawrence's help to go outside, so Lawrence was using this leverage to get him to talk.) "Okay, Bow, you can go outside, but first, I want you to tell me how you knew there was a snake."

Bow, anxious to get out and see whether Teyman had caught anything, complied. "I saw," he spelled.

"You saw?" Lawrence asked, sounding kind of dubious. Could Bow see through a solid fence? But since no further explanation was forthcoming, he said: "Okay, Bow, let's go outside then."

Bow and Lawrence made their way to the outer pen, and I went through the garage to the backyard, to see what Teyman was up to. There was much excitement among the dogs, and Teyman did have something in her mouth.

"Did she catch the snake?" I asked.

"She caught a snake," Lawrence replied.

I moved in closer, and Teyman, proud of her kill, dropped it at my feet. But no sooner had she done so than Brownie, our chocolate Lab, picked it up again in his mouth, shaking it a few times for good measure, then throwing it up in the air and inviting me to play fetch with it.

The snake was not a big, black rat snake. It wasn't anything at all like the snake Lawrence had reported seeing on the other side of the fence. It was brown and striped and much smaller. Here is a picture.
The snake Teyman killed
Later in the day, Lawrence asked Bow: "Which snake did you see, Bow? The black snake or the brown?"

Bow answered: "Brown."

Now, we don't necessarily have to take Bow's word on it. He has been known to lie. But it does make sense that he saw a snake in the yard, and not on the side of a solid fence.

In real life, sometimes there is more than one snake. Especially during snake season!

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