Skip to main content
Farm Fresh Forensics
rss feedour twitterour facebook page
site map
Latest Posts

Farm Fresh Blog

Wednesday, July 30 2014

It occurred to me last week that living on a rural (read:wild) ranch requires a certain 'skill set' from dogs as well as people.

Those of you who follow us on Facebook at Failte Gate Farm have already seen this snake on Trace's pictorial tour of the ranch last week.

Dear Reader Kathy asked if Trace had killed that snake. When I read this, I snorted frappuccino up my nose with laughter. Mercy me! No, Trace is unlikely to kill any snake, poisonous or not. Those tiny holes in the snake are not fang marks. They are #9 shotgun pellets.

And while Trace is unlikely to kill a snake, he is just as unlikely to be bitten by a snake because Trace clearly understands the Prime Directive of Ranch Living: "Stay Away From Copperheads & Rattlesnakes!"

I found this snake on my multiple trips between the ranch house and the cabin one morning. It's a short walking trip, a stone's throw. Because of the snakes, I normally carry a gun on my person, but on that particular trip, I found myself slapping my empty back pockets in search of a gun, while Blue Heeler and I gaped at a rapidly moving copperhead.

I'll spare you the drama filled with screams (me), and cussing (me), confusion (Blue Heeler, as I stuffed him quickly in a kennel), and more screams and confusion (Other Half) as I shouted orders to get him off the toilet to come help me find and kill this snake. Suffice it to say, life around our place is a bit like Keystone Cops.

Before anyone lectures me on snakes, rodents, and the food chain, I will add that, yes, I understand and agree with these things, but when you find three copperheads within 100 yards of each other within 3 minutes, and when you have dogs and grandchildren wandering around, we'll discuss it. Until then, if it's non-poisonous, I let it go. If it's a pit viper, I shoot at that sucker like Yosemite Sam. 

We solved the immediate snake problem and removed his still very dangerous, dying body by flinging it over the fenceline. Then one of us had the brilliant idea to do a spot test on whether or not the dogs remembered the 'snake-proofing' clinic they had attended after Dillon had been nailed (right between the eyes) by a rattlesnake.  So one by one we brought the dogs out to the kill site to read their body language.

Lily the Border Collie: mild interest and curiosity - FAIL

Ranger the Blue Heeker: mild interest and curiosity - FAIL

Dillon the Labrador: barrel right into the scene with great interest - BIG TIME FAIL

Trace: His reaction can be summed up like this-

        "SNAKE! SNAKE! There's a f*#@ing SNAKE out here! Everybody Run! RUN!

 "I don't like snakes, so sue me."

Trace passed with flying colors and will not have to go to another clinic this year. And yes, Friends and Neighbors, as much as it pained me to put a shock collar on him, his reaction to smelling a pit viper was worth it. If Trace can smell a snake before it sees him, Trace will not be bitten.

Dillon, on the other hand . . .

There's a reason why the Snake Man said Labradors normally need yearly 'tune-ups.'

So Trace definitely scored higher in his Ranch Intelligence Test #1 than anyone else.

Dillon did do well on Ranch Intelligence Test #2 - Walking across cattle guards

 Most of the time we drive over cattle guards, but if I take a walk down the road, I must cross two cattle guards on foot. Any dog wishing to participate in these walks must also be able to navigate these barriers.

He may as well have been a Seeing Eye Dog as he navigated this obstacle which required him to walk the rungs like a ladder. (I really wish I'd had this dog when I was doing Search & Rescue work.)

The Border Collies have not taken this test yet. Neither has the Blue Heeler. My expectations for Ranger are pretty low. He's certain the world is out to get him. Removing the ground from under his feet is not likely to go over well with him. We'll see how it goes.

 "Hey! Don't be hatin' on the blue dawg!"


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:55 am   |  Permalink   |  2 Comments  |  Email
Comments: is an amusing cartoon about snakes
Posted by Eric on 07/30/2014 - 02:30 PM
My red cattle dog Rosie is the same way. She's also convinced the world is out to get me too. So she has to watch out for me too. Just recently I took her and my Dutch Shepherd to the beach. The shepherd loved the water. Rosie LOATHS the water, but came in after me anyway because she was conviced the shepherd would get me killed, and I of course wa again too stupid to see the danger.
Posted by Nicole on 08/04/2014 - 06:57 PM

Post comment
Email Address

(max 750 characters)
* Required Fields
Note: All comments are subject to approval. Your comment will not appear until it has been approved.

Red Feather Ranch, Failte Gate Farm

© 2009-2019, Farm Fresh Forenics, Forensicfarmgirl, Failte Gate Farm, Red Feather Ranch All Rights Reserved.

rss feedour twitterour facebook page