Saturday, August 21, 2010

A snake is a snake

Let me start by saying that I have this friend. I like him quite a bit, but, he’s grumpy and demanding. He’s always whining about something. Either his food isn’t tasty enough, or his bed isn’t soft enough, or whatever. He often snaps at people, too. You’d swear he gets up on the wrong side of the bed every single day.

Granted, he has his problems including a special mental condition that has never been officially diagnosed. He doesn’t hear or see so well either, and he’s losing his teeth. Poor buddy. He’s getting old. My friend is our little dog, Mushu.

So why do I like him? Well for one thing, he’s quite cute. This is when he was young.

He's aged a little, as you can see.

He’s also very protective and loyal. If he thinks anyone, in any way, is a threat to me (this includes making any quick moves or even walking in rubber boots behind me), he goes berserk. He shadows me night and day and is always game for a long end-of-day walk, even if I pause for 100 sunset photos.

August sky

He has a real attitude toward strange dogs and snakes, too.

(Snake track we came across on our walk.)

If he discovers either of these in his territory, he switches to attack mode. Now, attack mode is dangerous for him because when he goes there all logic, and apparently some of his remaining faculties, are suddenly lost.

1. He goes deaf (as in, save your breath, yelling won’t help).
2. He becomes oblivious to size (his moto: it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.)
3. He is immune (in his mind) to snake venom or vicious bites from other dogs that actually have teeth.

This can be a problem, especially because we do have strange dogs or snakes coming by or through our yard off and on. So yesterday when some of the staff came to let me know there was a snake in our woodpile, my first move was to put Mushu behind closed doors. He wasn’t very happy about that. If there was a snake in our yard, he had business to do!

Guy at door: “Senhora, can you give me the snake spray please? There’s a snake in the woodpile.”

Me: “Snake spray?”

Guy: “Yeah, you know, that pesticide 'DOOM'.”

Me: “I’m not sure pesticide is going to kill a reptile…”

Guy: “Well, but it could scare him out from under the logs, right?”

Me: “Hmm, maybe. So let’s use something I don’t mind wasting. I have some mosquito repellent that smells so strong it makes me gag, let’s try that.”

So off we went, armed with a can of mosquito repellent, to hunt a snake. Two other guys awaited us by the woodpile. Guy #1 stepped up carefully and emptied about half the can of repellent into the woodpile. Nothing.

Guy #1: “We’re going to have to pull the wood off the pile, piece by piece, to find him.”

Thankfully, there wasn’t a lot of wood on the pile and they used a long iron rod to do the job.

Then suddenly, “There he is! There he is!”

Snake's tail.

Guy #1 managed to jab the snake with the iron rod on his first try.

“Got him!”

These guys have deadly aim. Had it been me with the rod, it would have been *poke* “agh, missed!” *poke again* “aagghh...missed again!” *pokepokepokewhapwhapwhap*.

When we were certain the snake was quite incapacitated, we stepped in for a closer look.

Me: “He doesn’t have belly stripes, does he? So he’s not a ‘cuspideira’ (spitting cobra).”

3 guys in unison. “No, he’s not a cuspideira.”

Me (checking his mouth with a stick after rinsing it with water--very funny thing to do, apparently): “His mouth isn’t black, so I don’t think he’s a black mamba either. Maybe he was a totally harmless snake.”

Guy #1 “But if you’re wrong, and you get bitten, things can go very badly. A snake is a snake, Senhora.” Other guys nod and express their agreement.

Had Mushu been there, he would have sided with them as well.

Otherwise in life this week, I took a run up to the mission school to check on several things including progress on the new health post that’s being built there.

We can’t wait til this building is ready!

Apparently, the school kids had been painting rocks.

That's quite the splash of color!

This coming week, Mushu and I are on our own here at the house since Dwight is on a trip north holding seminars.

Getting supplies ready is always quite the undertaking.

I plan to use the time to get caught up on my course and other work. I may even get around to tiling and painting where it’s still needed in the house.

And Mushu? Well, I’m sure he plans to be right here with me, keeping strangers at bay.

And going on walks with me

while I take an endless number of nature pictures.

Hopefully, there'll be no more snake incidents.


Patti said...

Had to laugh out loud all over again reading your snake story. As a matter of fact I still am. pokepokepokewhapwhap aaaaarg.

Love u sis :)

Russell said...

awwww Mushu. His teeth still falling out?

ruth said...

Royden likes snake stories :)

Sharon Guzak nee Clark said...

I'm with Patti, I can just see you flailing away and screaming "die, snake, die!" How old is mushu now? I still miss our little Chinue and how whe tagged along behind me, even when both eyes had to be removed and sne was stone deaf! I think my stinky feet gave her directions! So we have a pet cemetary with Catie's dog, Chinue, and grandaughter Danica's hampster in the far corner of the yard!