Nellie had never been previously labeled as courageous. The terms fearful, protective, timid, or cautious were commonly associated with the homeless pit bull until a few weeks ago.
However, everything took a turn when 5-year-old Nellie, while on a hike in a state park in Texas, positioned herself between her foster mother, Jane Taylor, and a rattlesnake.
Rescuers from the Final Frontier Rescue Project, a small volunteer-run organization in Texas, brought Nellie from a shelter in California when she was one year old. Following that, she spent years transitioning from one kennel to another until she crossed paths with Taylor six months ago.
Taylor shared with The Dodo, “When Nellie came into my care, she had a bit of extra weight, which only added to her adorable appeal. We playfully called her our little potato sack. However, that wasn’t her ideal shape, so we began running together, and now she weighs 45 pounds.
Initially, Nellie displayed fear towards loud noises, unfamiliar individuals, and unfamiliar animals upon arriving at her temporary abode. She exhibited resistance to being touched by strangers and fiercely protected her toys. Nonetheless, with the guidance of her foster mother, Nellie gradually adapted to her new life.”
Subsequently, on a sunny March day, Nellie showcased the progress she had made.
“We ascended to this enormous rock dome… We were traversing through an area that is not typically part of our usual route back to the car,” Taylor recounted. “I didn’t even catch sight of the snake; I simply halted and erupted in screams upon hearing its presence.”
Taylor proceeded, “Before I could even react or turn back or anything, she darted from behind me, swiftly engaging with the snake. It was as if Nellie conveyed, ‘I’ve got this one, Mom. Keep moving.”
Shortly after the confrontation commenced, Nellie suffered a snakebite to her face. A fellow hiker swiftly covered the snake with his jacket and removed the wriggling reptile away from the injured dog.
Taylor and her companion lifted the dog and descended the mountain as Nellie remained immobile, refusing to walk.
Upon placing her in the car, Taylor recollected, “Her jaws were agape, her head arched backward, and her eyes shut.” Even though she did not vocalize her agony with howls, it was evident that she was distressed.
Taylor expressed, “I recognized the urgency of taking her to the veterinarian as soon as possible.
Nellie received two doses of antivenom, along with medications for the snakebite, and was advised to rest. Thanks to everyone’s prompt actions, the courageous dog is recovering rapidly.
“She’s such a resilient pup,” Taylor remarked. “Just two days later, she was back to chasing squirrels.”
Now that Nellie is on the path to recovery, she is ready to move forward and find her forever home.
To ensure Nellie’s comfort, Taylor is preparing to relocate to Hawaii to care for her elderly parents.
According to Taylor, Nellie has been decompressing and is gradually discovering the joys of life. “She becomes ecstatic whenever we have visitors at home. When other dogs arrive, she realizes it’s playtime. She has become less possessive now that she has plenty of toys.”
Taylor will forever be grateful to Nellie for her courage, recognizing that Nellie has a bright future if given an opportunity.
“People automatically assume that Nellie was protecting me,” Taylor commented. “And she very well might have been because when we’re out walking, she is vigilant and attentive towards anything or anyone she dislikes.”
She added, “It’s incredibly heartwarming to consider that she would act in such a manner for my sake.”
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