Are you afraid of snakes, like me? Does the thought of Pythons stalking and dropping from tree limbs to swallow your dogs whole keep you from hiking in the deep woods? Does the suspicion of rattlesnakes slithering among sandy shores keep you from swimming with your dogs?
My imagination goes off the deep end when it comes to snakes. It also intimidates me into avoiding travel to regions known to have lots of snakes. After all, my pack’s primary form of on-the-road exercise is hiking, which means we’re often walking into unfamiliar areas that are home to any number of mysterious creatures. Spiders the size of your hand, raccoons with needle-sharp teeth, birds that screech and swoop. And then there are those snakes.
What’s the Problem?
My Dad advised me while hiking our Midwestern trails: “don’t put your hand or foot anywhere you can’t see, like under a log or behind a boulder. That’s where snakes sleep and, just like your Mom, they don’t appreciate getting woken up”. Other than that, I am basically clueless about snakes. Which is why they are so scary: I can neither anticipate their moves nor show respect for their habitat.
This fear has become unacceptable: I am planning a cross-country trip and will most certainly be entering many snaky areas over its course.
It’s time to use the Worse Case Scenario Methodology (WSCM) to finally break free of this debilitating fear and start planning those dog road trips!
Ending the Mystery by Using the Worst Case Scenario Method
Let’s review the Worse Case Scenario Methodology (WCSM) then put it to good use:
1. Identify the problem
2. Plan a course of action
3. Prepare and/or practice
Step #1: Identify the Problem
I am scared of hiking in snaky regions because a snake may bite my dogs. Phew! That step is done! Let’s continue the momentum with Step #2.
Step #2: Consider a Course of Action
Until I know more about the lay of the land where snakes are involved, I believe the best course of action is to familiarize myself about the following subjects:
|Basic Snakology:||What they eat, how they behave, where they shelter? Also, what is the difference between venomous and nonvenomous snakes, and can you tell by just looking at them?|
|Regionology:||Which snakes inhabit the region(s) through which I may travel?|
|Avoidology:||Other than knowing basic information about snakes, how else can I avoid snakebites in my pack?|
|Reactology:||What do I do if a snake happens to bite my dogs, or me?|
Step #3: Prepare and/or Practice
Now it’s time to gather reference materials identified in Step #2 (I’ll share what I’ve found in Part 2 of this story in a later post):
|Prepare (find resources):||
|Practice (do it!):||Get out there and hike! Start easy by exploring our home region. Remember to:
Ready to Go
Now that I have completed my three WCSM steps, I have a little more confidence about traveling and hiking with dogs away from home. I still feel naïve about snakes, but now know enough to not let it derail dog trips. Part 2 of this story will include helpful hints and links to valuable resources.
Please click on “Comment or Share” below and share with us your snake encounter stories and snake/dog wisdom! List any resources you think may be helpful to other dog travelers.