Darrell Layne, 70, a Navy veteran, said he was walking July 14 on a friend's farmland in Clarksville with his 5-year-old dog, Onex, an Army veteran who served in the Middle East, when he noticed the venomous snake at his feet, Gannett Tennessee reported Tuesday.
"I'm looking down, and not far was a copperhead," he said. "He was coiled up and ready to strike me."
Layne said Onex growled at the snake and got its attention. He said he killed the snake with a fence post but not before it bit his dog twice on the face.
"I would have never got out of there," Layne said. "He got real sick on me before we got back to the truck."
Layne said he took Onex to a veterinarian, where he underwent two days of fluids and anti-venom.
The man said the incident strengthened his friendship with the dog.
"He's very protective of me, and I've noticed this more since this happened," he said. "I know what could have been if I didn't have him."