WEST PLAINS, Miss. — Bonnie Robinson is no stranger to heroes, she is one herself! She often fosters animals and has personally taken care of 16 dogs, many horses, and even a couple of mini pigs. She never imagined that one of her foster pups would be her hero too.
Robinson lives on a four acre farm in West Plains, Missouri, where she lives with four rescue dogs, two horses, and a rescue donkey.While gardening one day, she was startled by her tiny, 14 pound foster dog Harley.
“I had turned around to get my clippers and was turning back when Harley just flew out of nowhere,” Robinson told People in a recent interview. “She leaped past me onto the ground, yelped, twisted and turned away, then dove right back in. The first thing I thought was that maybe she jumped on a rosebush thorn. But then I saw the two little spots of blood on her nose and I knew immediately what had happened.”
Robinson immediately picked up Harley, as she saw a pygmy rattlesnake make its exit, while making its signature tail-shake-sound. No stranger to the danger posed by these venomous snakes, she knew that she’d been lucky that Harley was by her side and alert to the danger.
“A few more seconds and I would have been reaching forward into that very spot with those clippers,” Robinson says. “I was right in the line of fire and I believe that’s why she jumped in twice. She got bit the first time, then jumped in again because she realized the snake was still there and was a danger for me. I truly believe in my heart that little dog knew exactly what she was doing.”
For an extensive list of the signs your dog has been bitten by a venomous snake, as well as what to do, The Bark has a great guide here.
As for Harley, her little face quickly swelled up to double its normal size, and it caused her trouble breathing as well. “I was seriously afraid I was going to lose her. She was so lethargic that I thought she was dying in my arms.” Robinson said. Though Harley was originally a foster dog, Robinson says she stopped looking for an adopter when she “just melted into the family.”
Harley saving her from the rattlesnake was the clincher in making Robinson realize how important their relationship is.
“The whole time, I was just praying, ‘Please don’t take my baby. Please, Lord, I need her,'” an emotional Robinson says, her voice cracking. “I didn’t realize what she meant to me until then, or what I meant to her. I’ve heard stories about this kind of thing, but it is very humbling for one of God’s creatures to save your life.”
Robinson immediately gave Harley a dog-sized dose of an antihistamine wrapped in cheese, and her sister rushed over to drive them to the hospital because, on top of everything, Robinson’s own car wouldn’t start. Once at the vet’s the little pup was given an antivenin injection and was soon back home with her symptoms rapidly disappearing.
Harley was back to normal a few days after her run-in with the snake, though she’s since developed a strange dislike for her own tail.
“Ever since the bite, she hates her tail,” Robison says, speculating that perhaps it reminds Harley of the snake’s movement. “She constantly growls at it and snaps at it and chases it.”