When you hear that two dogs saved two children from a copperhead snake, you might think the heroic dogs were gallant German Shepherds or brilliant Border Collies, but instead they were dogs identified as pit bulls.
Both dogs took severe bites in defense of the children in their Florida backyard near Hillsborough River State Park. Paco, the 9-month-old dog, recuperated well after being bitten on an elbow. However, 3-year-old Slayer was attacked on the snout. At first, veterinarians weren’t sure he’d make it because of the location of the bite and the amount of venom released by the deadly snake.
Indeed, the dogs ultimately killed the snake in defense of the 1 and 4 year olds, who had been playing innocently just a few feet away.
The veterinarian at their usual Banfield clinic quickly realized the snake responsible for the bites was a copperhead and told the family to rush to BluePearl, which, as a specialty and emergency hospital, has the advanced equipment and medication necessary to treat snake bites and other serious ailments. Both dogs were treated with antivenin and pain medication at BluePearl.
Slayer took two doses of antivenin, and a local nonprofit, Frankie’s Friends, raised more than $7,000 to help pay for the treatment.
The young children have no idea about snakes and could have easily stepped on the snake or kicked it while playing, since they were so close. If that had happened, this story might not have had a happy ending. Family members are convinced the dogs realized the danger, and did all they could do, even if it meant being bitten themselves.
Stories like this one often involve dogs identified as pit bulls (really, they’re mixed-breed dogs with a specific profile). Just one more reason we should never judge a book by its cover when it comes to dogs.