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Florida dog recovering after protecting owner from rattlesnake attack

By Ben Hooper
Puppers, Florida resident Tom Herbet's dog, took a rattlesnake bite to the face while protecting her owner from the serpent. Screenshot: WNYT Television
Puppers, Florida resident Tom Herbet's dog, took a rattlesnake bite to the face while protecting her owner from the serpent. Screenshot: WNYT Television

LAKE PLACID, Fla., Oct. 27 (UPI) -- A Florida man said his heroic dog is on the mend after being bitten in the face while protecting her owner from a rattlesnake.

Tom Herbet of Lake Placid said he feared for the lives of his four dogs Oct. 20 when they encountered a rattlesnake measuring more than 4 feet long on his 2.5-acre property.

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Herbert said he tried to get the dogs inside, but one of the canines, a dog named Puppers, insisted on staying between the venomous serpent and her owner.

"It struck out at Puppers, and I immediately tried to get her away from the snake but she was insisting on getting between me and the snake"  Herbert told WFLA-TV.

"That dog would not let me get near the snake. She wanted to be between me and the snake, and I wanted to do the same. I wanted to keep her away from the snake," Herbert said.

Herbert said he thought he and the dogs had escaped the snake without injuries, but he soon noticed Puppers' face was swollen.

Puppers was rushed to an animal hospital in Winter Haven, where she received anti-venom about two and a half hours after the bite.

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"I can't thank [the veterinarian] enough. He stayed with her all night long in intensive care, and at first he didn't know if Puppers would make it," Herbert said.

He said the dog is returning to normal, but her jaw is still a little swollen.

Herbert said he plans to burn the debris pile where the snake was hiding.

Dogs have been known in the past to take on venomous snakes to protect their owners, as well as larger dangers including bears.

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