Man’s best friend leaps to owner’s defense

Published 5:00 am Thursday, September 18, 2008

I have always heard that one will easily recognize a cottonmouthwater moccasin by its actions, and if one can see thedistinguishing “cottonmouth” you are way too close.

Man’s best friend, of course, is that lovable dog that wantsnothing more in life but to please its owner. Ginger is our lovable12-year-old chocolate Labrador who does what most Labs do when notwatching over the house: sleep and eat!

Early Wednesday morning a week ago she was on duty. The morningwas a little dark with the cloud cover of Hurricane Gustav still inthe air.

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Our driveway was still covered with debris left over from theweather of the prior two days. Amy had left an hour earlier to helpserve breakfast at the shelter at Faith Presbyterian Church.

I was left to get daughter No. 2 off to school.

Growing up, my older brothers always told me that snakes alwaysbite the last person, not the first. So naturally I was alwaysplaced accordingly at the back of the line when the three of uswere out and about in places snakes might roam – the old “secondman” rule somebody reminded me upon hearing my tale.

On this particular Wednesday morning, Meredith had already goneto her car and I was quickly retrieving lunch money from inside thehouse.

As I came out the back door Ginger was making a bit of anuisance of herself – hungry for breakfast I assumed. Still a bitpre-coffee bleary-eyed, I was making my way to the driveway whenGinger bolted past me.

I remember hearing our other dog’s bark and Ginger grabbing whatlooked like a large limb and slinging it in the air.

It was from the hood of my truck that I saw the distinguishingwhite mouth gaping wide open as it struck. It must have jumped atleast 5 feet in the air.

Ginger yelped and I yelled at her to get away. The snakeslithered under the truck and I hurried Meredith off to schoolwhile at the same time keeping an eye on the snake’swhereabouts.

Ginger spent the night at the vet’s office and is now home andback to her old self.

The ole girl did her job that morning; she protected me. As Ireflect on the incident, she could see that I was about to walkdirectly on top of the coiled-up water moccasin, which wasapparently startled when Meredith had passed by momentsearlier.

Ginger now gets to sleep wherever she wants, and receives alittle extra food in her bowl at mealtime. The snake? Let’s justsay, it’s now resting peacefully in the woods.

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven, Miss.,39602 or e-mail him at