I am freaked out by snakes in our backyard. I know they are beneficial, help control any rodent population, blah blah blah. But I don’t like snakes. They’re sneaky. They slither. You step (barefooted of course) into the grass and suddenly they sidewind around your toes, scaring the bejeezers out of you, causing you to scream like a little girl and make your teenage son laugh at you. Well, that’s what happens here.

Today, as I put Kelly in her fenced in dog run, I noticed her pouncing and scrambling after something long and slithery emerging from under a rock. My calls (okay, girlish shrieks) of “No, Kelly drop it!” did no good as she grasped the snake and flung it around in her mouth, like something out of a wildlife show. I certainly didn’t want her to get bitten, and I’m sure this snake had teeth, fangs even, razor sharp for dog-devouring. Nudging Kelly with a rake handle didn’t deter her from getting in touch with her primitive canine instinct to hunt for food. Finally the thing lay there, curled in that way that you see a rattler before it lashes out to strike, or like those snakes in a tall basket that the charmer evokes out with his flute. That’s what I was thinking of anyway as I saw this little 6 inch predator, not exactly lively anymore, curled up in my backyard. At this point Kelly decided that the right thing to do was to eat the snake. I’m not surprised, this from a dog who occasionally dines on her own discards among the tall grass. Afraid of what kind of stomach upset would result from eating a snake, I continued to yell. And, thinking logically, I called my teenage son who was then able to laugh at me over the cellphone.

I certainly wasn’t going to step foot into the dog run. The nearly-flat, mutilated viper might still be alive. I decided to hurl bricks at it to be sure. Of course with Kelly’s nose still inches away from what I hoped was the corpse, I didn’t dare fling too hard. This tactic, too, was futile.

Finally I tempted Kelly out of the run with a good old slice of American cheese, something more alluring than snake skin. I slammed the gate closed lest the lifeless snake, surrounded by bricks no where near the fallen soul, should suddenly decide to get up and exit via the actually entryway, rather than slithering out the gaping holes in the nearby chicken wire fencing.

I’m sure somewhere my son is still laughing.