It’s getting to be that time of year and I have to think about rattlesnakes and thinking about them means watching for them. I’ve seen hundreds of them on trails I’ve hiked in California, but I never learned to like them.

Reading trail guides that say, “We live here too!” showing a picture of a rattlesnake, my heart strings are not pulled by that cry for tolerance. I don’t believe in killing them. I understand the good they do, but as I’ve lost three dogs to rattlesnake bites I’m pretty sure snakes do not share my point of view.

After I lost Ariel to snakebite (In my YARD) I signed up Jasmine and Lily for Rattlesnake Avoidance Classes. That worked great. When we went back the next year for a refresher, Jasmine remembered it so well that when she heard a snake, she ran to a red pickup truck and tried to jump up in the back. I no longer had a red pickup truck and that one belonged to someone else. I caught her and put her in my car.

Neither Dusty nor Bear has had this training and I would like them to have it. It doesn’t only potentially save a dog, it teaches them how to alert their person.

Meanwhile, I’m teaching Bear to keep her head up and to stay near me on a trail. I believe she’s smart enough to learn the difference between summer and winter trails. Dusty already gets it.

And maybe this is not a Colorado problem, but if I were a snake I would definitely live in all the places I’ve hiked or walked so far except the road to the high school.

Here’s a story of some of my happier snake encounters…

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