Rattlesnake season in the Arizona has arrived.
One traveling couple shared their story with KGUN 9’s Phoenix sister station, ABC15, to warn others after their dog was bitten in the face and now needs surgery.
“A rattlesnake does not have to be rattling in order to strike but, that strike is the last, last resort. They’re going to try to hide or avoid or scurry away as much as possible first,” says Bryan Hughes, owner of Rattlesnake Solutions.
Levi, a two-year-old Australian shepherd, and his parents, Brittani and Adam, were out camping near Lake Pleasant on Sunday when the unexpected happened.
“He was chasing a lizard and in turn, once he saw the lizard, he turned around the corner and there was just a rattlesnake in between two bushes out in the open,” said Adam Fenimore, Levi’s owner.
Levi was bitten in the eye and even though he was quickly taken to the emergency pet hospital and given anti-venom, he must undergo surgery to have the eye removed.
His owners say they are devastated by the situation and are now thinking of putting Levi in rattlesnake aversion training once he recovers.
“If it’s in your means to have your dog completely not want to interact with snakes… would be your best line of defense,” said Brittani Fenimore, Levi’s owner.
Rattlesnake Ready LLC is located in Cave Creek, where they train thousands of dogs annually, in a four-step process, using real rattlesnakes.
“We have shed skin that we put out that’s fresh from a rattlesnake from our collection and we let the dog sniff that out and teach them that it’s a bad source of odor. Then I have a speaker hidden in some bushes and we play the recording of a rattlesnake, to make sure a dog flees from that sound if they ever hear it pop up around them,” said Cody Will, Rattlesnake Ready LLC.
Will says it is best to keep your dog on a leash or stay on a designated trail while hiking.
To follow Levi’s journey, check out the Fenimore’s travel Instagram page.