Snakes, Snails, & Puppy Dog Tails


Most folks have heard at some point that little boys are made of snakes, snails and puppy dog tails.

Little girls are made of sugar and spice, and everything nice.  And of course as we age that spice takes over and seasons the everything nice into stuff that often is NOT so nice, strutting around in high heels.  But is another post for another time.

We have a wonderful little Yorkie in the palace, Penny.  She is my daughter’s first dog, who cannot live in harmony with the daughter’s boyfriend’s canine.  This is really not a shocker, as little chubby Penny has a bit of a Princess complex, only it is the negative side of said complex.  Honestly she is a bit of a crotchety old dog, at 10 years and a few months, but only when it comes to other dogs being in ‘her’ pack.  One of the cats, on the other hand, the palace feline princess, is a bully and bosses the dog around.   We have no ‘puppy dog tails’, as it is more of a stump, because they clip Yorkie’s ears and tails.  But for all intents and purposes, in addition to boys who are made up of such lovely stuff, we have the puppy dog tail part covered.

When it comes to snails, yes we have those. Outside.  Where they belong.  Well they are slugs, which my very unscientific brain believes are homeless snails, as in minus a shell.  I nearly stepped on a large, slimy slug one morning last week when I took Penny out to send her first, 5am pee-mail.  I saw it moving on the sidewalk and bent down to see what it was, as without my glasses on in the morning I have to get kind of up close and personal with the world around me to bring it into focus.  So, snails and puppy dog tails.  And a bunch of cat fur that is shed now and then too, throughout the palace.  Thankfully there is this dandy device known as a vacuum cleaner for that issue.

Which brings us to snakes.  There are few things in this world that will cause me to be completely paralyzed with fear, and snakes would be one of those things.  I HATE SNAKES!  I do not care if they don’t bite, aren’t poisonous, and eat rodents.  I HATE SNAKES!!  My son, the cop, who is afraid of tiny tan house spiders, at least will run screaming and naked from the shower if he encounters his 8 legged fear.  When I come across a snake I freeze, cannot move, and if I found one in the shower with me I’d just drop dead of a heart attack, end of story.

At 5am today, Penny was doing her potty dance and adding a slight whimper to it from her crate in our room.  This nixed the idea of “just 10 more minutes” with a touch of the snooze alarm.  Whimpers generally mean “if you don’t get out of that bed, woman, there will be nasty, runny puppy poop to clean up and it will be no one’s fault but your own!”  This I know from the not too distant past (see Over Night Notes To Self for more information).  I got up, got the dog and headed downstairs.  I picked up her leash and she wouldn’t come to me, seemed she was thirsty.  So much for urgency.  When she finally had emptied the water bowl, as the cats looked on with great concern (they always worry no one will refill it), I hooked the leash to her collar and we walked out of the front door.  I did not have my glasses on, so what I first thought I was seeing laying on the sidewalk, was a large stick, or the neighbor’s ivy type plant had grown a rather long off-shoot across the concrete.  I got to the edge of the porch and started to step down, getting up close and personal and HOLY CRAP THAT IS A FREAKING SNAKE!!!!!!  I backed up very fast, to the door.  Penny, is looking at me oddly and trying to go forward.

I am now standing, frozen on the porch, trying to decide what to do.  I could go through the garage and let the dog go out that way, but what if when I move it goes down by the garage door and enters?  ARGH!!!!!!  The dog is starting to pull on the leash, she has business at the other end of the sidewalk and I’m holding up progress.  I’m worried that as she passes over it, the snake is going to whip around and bit the dog.  And of course from the size of the snake  in my imagination, it is going to swallow my poor little Yorkie whole.  But she is pulling harder, so I give her some leash to work with as she heads right toward the monster on the walkway.  I decide that perhaps I am sacrificing the dog, but then it could be fore the greater good.  That of course being that the snake would eat the pup then move on somewhere to hang out for a few weeks while it digests Penny.  I’m sure my daughter could understand that, right?

Penny stopped and sniffed the tail of the snake then stepped over it and kept going.  I gave her all the leash that I could, hoping she would just go in the mulch and come back to the porch, like she does when it is pouring down rain. But NO, she is tugging at it and looking at me like “it’s now or I am dropping this mess on your sidewalk”.  It dawns on me then that the snake had not moved.  So, I bravely, on jello legs lean out and have another look and realize it is just a long skin.  But what if the snake is not done shedding it yet? EEEEEK now what?  I decided I had to get the dog to the other end of the sidewalk so she could send her pee-mail and poo in the grass.  I did a graceful, ballerina style leap over the snake skin, (okay it no doubt looked like a rhino, sporting pink/blue/purple plaid & a pink, Hello Kitty shirt, trying to jump an obstacle)  and then ran down the sidewalk sure it was in hot pursuit.  Puppy did her business and we headed back up the path to the door.  With goosebumps the size of grapes, I timed my next impressive jump so that I was going over the dog and the snake skin, in case the snake was there, the dog would be the closer target.  Sorry, I know, but again, the whole greater good thing, after all the dog cannot cook or do laundry.  I had to save myself!

Before I left for the office I found a long broom stick and went outside to lift the skin off the walkway.  It was at this time that I happened to see just how long (3 ft) this thing was, and the face was looking up at me from the ornamental grasses by the downspout.  It was empty but it sure looked the part, even with my glasses on.

Now, as I end this, let me mention that before I went to bed last night I was reading Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, the part at the end of the TriWizard Tournament.  You know, where he bumps into my ex-husband Lord Voldemort in the grave yard?  And old you-know-who has that big old snake with him, which made my skin crawl thinking about it before I went to sleep.  Before you think this is a figment of my imagination inspired by too much Valerian root in my before bedtime tea, I took a picture of it after I brought the dog inside.

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2 thoughts on “Snakes, Snails, & Puppy Dog Tails

  1. Marti, Hi! I think that I probably would have had a heart attack! Years ago, when our son was about 2 (he’s 14 going on 15 years old now!), he was playing inside our screened-in patio, when he saw a snake outside the patio! He yelled for his dad! My husband went out to look at what our son was yelling about, and noticed that it was a rattlesnake. Bear in mind that we have a conservation area right behind our backyard in the neighborhood! Before Steve could get the shovel to kill it, it went away!

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