Pets: The dog that saved me from the snake

By Becky Holland,
Special to the Piney Woods News

Susan Wilson has authored three of my favorite books – and they all focus on relationships with people, and people and their dogs – sort of. Her last one is called, “The Dog Who Saved Me.”

To capture a quick image of the story : Susan writes fiction, obviously, and this tale is about a man – a former cop – who returns to his hometown. He becomes the animal control officer there. While he is learning to deal with all the memories and the past of his life, his family and such in the small town, he meets a dog -a  dog he swore he would never get to close too. This dog had been abused and has gone feral. Susan intertwines each detail of this story so that it is not another ‘dog’ story – it is a story that revolves around some real life issues. In the end, the man is the one who is helped by the dog.

Who doesn’t love a story like that?


As I put the book down and wiped my nose and face on my collar, I looked down at my goofy mutt – Toby.


Toby is a typical dog. He is a mixed breed – there has to be some type of Terrier in him and possible chihuahua, and maybe a smaller breed of a hunting dog. We thought he was part Pug at one time, but as he has grown older, he exhibits other qualities that make us think he might be something else.

Toby was found at the end of the driveway of a home in southeast Texas, and the couple who said they found him brought him to the Walmart parking lot to give him away. They were parked next to the sno-cone truck and that is where I was when I saw him. He was kind of odd looking, and I really was trying to avoid looking at him.

I couldn’t have a dog in my house as per my landlord. I was not sure I wanted one. I leaned around the corner of the sno-cone truck, and Toby was looking at me. I walked over to the couple. We talked for a few minutes, and next thing I knew, Toby and I were in my car headed home.

Negotiating with my landlord ended up with me paying a higher rent but I figured why not. Having the company would be worth it.

Little did I know how true that statement was. Toby really ended up rescuing me. I guess I should say he rescues me everyday – from myself, from loneliness, from mischief, from overindulgeness, from pesky spiders, from taking life too seriously and from people who I don’t need to be around.

The other day, he also proved himself very worthy when he saved us both from becoming a snake’s snack.


I had my patio door open as I normally do. It is an enclosed patio. I was sitting at this very same desk writing some articles for Toby was standing at the doorway of the patio – almost in a pointer stance – his one foot up and his eyes intensely focused on the corner of the patio. He was growling like a grizzly bear.

I walked over, leaned down and said “What is it?” I didn’t see anything, but his little soccer ball and a bottle of bubbles I had left out there. “Do you want your ball?” I asked. The growling didn’t stop. He stood in front of me as if he was trying to stop me from going outside. (I wish I was telling this for dramatic effect, but this is what happened.)

I turned back around, and saw it. It was crawling through a hole in the patio along side the crevice by the edge. It was long, slithering and looked to be headed our way.

Within seconds, I grabbed Toby, moved back in the house and slammed the door, locking it. The snake’s head appeared and part of his body on the patio cement.

Toby just stared at it and barked.

I am told by the one who came and got the creature and took it away that it was non-poisonous, but it was long- probably three to almost four foot, and looked like it had been dining on some filet of frogs or fish or whatever creatures snakes eat.

It took a day before I could open the patio door again. (There had to be some snake repellant and some moth balls thrown out there first.)  As soon as I did, Toby ran for the area where the snake was, to sniff and see if it was gone.

In fact,every time the door opens, he does that.

I guess he now thinks he is the snake whisperer or something.

All I know is – whatever that dog wants, that dog gets from now on.


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