This week’s blog is not going to be about veterinary medicine. Well, at least not directly. I have a thing about snakes…in a controlled environment with someone holding one, or even being handed one, like at a petting zoo, I can handle that. I even don’t mind then in that setting – there is a slithery beauty to them, and they are impressive with how they move and even eat. But a snake slithering freely in the grass or across my path – instant panic. And a snake inside the house?? Hard pass.
About 4 years ago, there was a day when a snake decided to grace us with his (or her, but for simplicity sake I’m going to stick with his) presence. It was back when we were still pretty small, and typically only had a few employees on at a time. I was downstairs in our old treatment room with Kira recovering a patient, when I caught movement out of the corner of my eye. To my horror, I turned to see a snake slithering it’s way across the floor towards us. Now, there are 2 types of people in this situation – those who remain calm and determine the best course of action and then carry it out, and those who panic. In a very calm and collected way, I immediately panicked and started screaming about the anaconda making it’s way across the floor towards us. At this point it is important to note that Kira and I have a slightly different version of our recollection of the size and behavior of the snake. In my memory, he was a very large and intimidating snake, at least 3 feet in length, with an impressive girth, behaving in an aggressive and unpredictable manner. In Kira’s memory, this was a tiny little earthworm, barely the size of her pinky and less than a foot in length, just trying to escape. The truth is probably somewhere in-between, but for the sake of my dignity, let’s proceed as if it was an intimidating and impressive size.
As I very calmly and doctorly commenced my screaming, Kira immediately started laughing which in turn made me laugh-scream, as the poor confused snake slithered around trying to avoid us and find a way out. We gained our wits long enough to grab an empty litter box (and by we, I mean Kira) to attempt to capture said vicious beast. A snake running amok in our practice is not exactly an ideal situation, for anyone involved. Now picture here Kira bent over with a cat litter box in her hand trying to slowly approach the snake, while I’m clutching to her arm being completely unhelpful and occasionally laugh-screaming. As we got closer the poor little guy was terrified and reared up, giving us a series of defensive strikes to try to encourage us to back off. ‘It’s in strike mode!’ was my immediate (and helpful) response, followed immediately by hysterical laughter. This sequence played out several times over, with him rearing and striking, and me yelling ‘it’s in strike mode’, and Kira laughing so hard that neither of us could accomplish anything. After a few tense (and hilarious) moments of laughing, yelling, and striking, Kira was able to get him into the litter box and run him outside to be set free in a much more appropriate location. During the release, I calmly went upstairs and explained to the rest of the staff and clients (who had all heard the entire exchange), that there was a snake situation, but it had been handled.
Now don’t hold this story against me here – I honestly don’t really have anything against snakes, and I also promise I am a generally calm and level-headed individual…I guess in the real world situations we can all just know that snakes are not my strong suit. That’s something that I obviously have in common with Indiana Jones.