“Ever wonder where you’d end up if you took your dog for a walk and never once pulled back on the leash?”
~ Robert Brault, American writer, “Wisdom For the Ages”
Last weekend, my sons unintentionally found the answer to the question posed above. Clarification is needed for better understanding of the exact circumstances and players involved. First off, the weather conditions.
It was an unusually hot day, but was made tolerable by the amazingly clear skies. The dog was not Abby, so the “your dog” was not mine, but was Micky – a corgi/beagle – our sons’ dog. Put one dog and two boys on a remote mountain trail and it becomes a hike, with the leader of the pack running ahead to scout out the best route.
No trace of “May-June gloom” as temperatures reached toward100 degrees. With summer coming, mammals, human and canine alike, seek cooler places. Meanwhile, cold-blooded reptiles have recently awakened from hibernation and are crawling and slithering out of their burrows seeking the warmth of the sun. Yes, life is good until a small brown dog comes nose-to-nose with a Southern Pacific rattlesnake.
“Bark, Bark, Bark!” By the time the hikers arrived, the estimated four-foot long snake was headed back into the brush, but a majority of its body was still stretched across the trail. The once “leader of the pack” fearfully remained close by his owners’ side. No leash needed.
In our foothill community, where crime is low, nature-based danger is more prevalent than criminal. Year four of drought is driving rattlesnakes from the hills, into backyards in search of food and water. Our local rattlesnake, the Southern Pacific, is one of the most venomous ones. If not treated promptly, a bite may cause death to its victim. In case of encounter, leave the snake alone; back off so it can escape. If bitten, get to a hospital emergency room as fast as possible or, for pets, seek immediate veterinarian care. As always, closely supervise children.
Rain showers and thunderstorms are expected to be with us, through Friday evening. The NWS is unsure of rainfall amounts, but my guess is .25 inches. The weekend’s forecast of below normal temperatures is not ideal snake-weather. Most will remain home, to maintain their warmth. With the hot days of summer fast approaching, allow it won’t be long before the cold-blooded creatures hit the trail and make their way into our neighborhoods. Until then, daytime temperatures in the 70’s, with nights dropping to the low 50’s will take us into next week.
Sue Kilpatrick is a
Crescenta Valley resident and
Official Skywarn Spotter for the
National Weather Service. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.