Dog injured by rattlesnake bite, homeowners find 3 snakes in backyard

Posted at 8:04 PM, Aug 21, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-22 00:36:43-04

NORTH OGDEN, Utah -- A North Ogden family is nursing their little dog back to health after the pooch was bit by a rattlesnake in its dog kennel.

Peanut Butter, a six-year-old Shih Tsu, was alert and responsive at the vet's office Wednesday afternoon.

The dog seemed particularly happy to see 15-year-old Eliza Johnson, who said the family has had the little dog since she was only a pup.

"I'm not going to let her outside now," Eliza said, very much the doting mother. "She's never going outside again."

Eliza said she had just come home from her first day of high school Tuesday and let Peanut Butter go outside, but moments later the little dog came yelping back into the house with blood gushing out of her left eye.

The family thought Peanut Butter had been pecked by a bird and rushed her to a nearby vet.

But it wasn't until the family returned home that Eliza went outside and found a rattlesnake in the kennel.

"I ran inside," Eliza said. "I was like, 'Mom, it was a rattlesnake! We need to go back now!' And it was really scary."

The family retrieved Peanut Butter and raced to Advanced Veterinary Care in Salt Lake City, one of the few locations in the state that could administer the life-saving anti-venom the dog needed.

"I feel kind of sad," said Heber Johnson, Eliza's 12-year-old brother. "I love her so much. I thought she was going to die, but I can't believe she made it."

Peanut Butter wagged her tail and rested her head on Eliza's shoulder when they were reunited.

Peanut Butter has to return to the vet Friday to have her left eye removed, but Eliza isn't harboring a grudge against the offending rattlesnake.

"It wasn't the snake's fault. If anything, it's Peanut Butter's fault. She's curious. She's a curious dog," Eliza said. "I was really, really mad at first, but I kind of got over it. It wasn't the snake's fault. It's going to be fine."

Father Shawn Johnson captured the rattlesnake and two more behind the home (right along the Wasatch Mountains on Mountain Road), putting all three into a large oil barrel.

He said in 30 years he had only found three rattlesnakes in his yard. So finding three in one night was "remarkable," and "spooky."

But the father said he and the kids will take the snakes high up in the canyon and let them go.

Eliza said her little peanut may be down, but not out.

"It'll just slow her down a bit," Eliza said. "And maybe after a month or two she'll be a lot better and be able to run around."