Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Emma's snake "thing"

I think I've posted before about Emma and snakes. That is, when they meet Emma terminates them with extreme prejudice.

Late last month I might have gotten some insight into what goes on in her mind. I was sitting on the front deck, enjoying a beautiful, mild late afternoon. The dogs were amusing themselves. Em was alone out front about 60 yards and seemed to be interested in something in the grass, circling it, going in, jumping back a little, but not really very excited about it. At first I thought it must be a snake, but then I was sure it was not because she was not diving in for the kill. A turtle? I keep binocs on the table next to my chair but couldn't see enough of it to tell what it was.

Emma got bored and left the scene, and I decided to walk out and see what it was. A mistake, as I should have put Em in the house. She saw me going out there and tagged along. Sure enough, it was a snake: a big bullsnake, maybe 4-1/2 feet long. When I got about ten feet from it Emma sprang into action, charged in, grabbed it, flung it about, and killed it pretty definitely dead, dead, dead. This despite me telling her to drop it and back off. Once committed she cannot be called off a snake. A bird, yes, but not a snake.

Then the penny dropped. She hadn't been all that interested in it before I appeared on the scene. She sprang on the thing when I approached it. My theory is that Em is protecting me, or the other dogs, from something dangerous. "If you're too dumb  to keep away from these things then I'm just gonna have to protect you from yourself by killing it!" she seems to be saying. Makes sense when all the evidence is in, I think.

Yesterday morning, from inside, I noticed Emma and Jack and Mags at the bottom of the steps up to the deck milling around and apparently mildly interested in something under the steps. I stepped out onto the deck and Em body-blocked Jack away and almost broke her silly neck getting her head under the second step and came out with another bullsnake, smaller this time. But just as dead by the time she had finished her business with it.


Anonymous said...

welcome back

a fan

Crotalus (Don't Tread on Me) said...

That's an interesting insight. I thought she just hated snakes. Never thought that she was protecting you.