Animals, House Sitting Pets, house/pet sitting, long-stay travel, Snakes

All Things Slithery

“Pusa, whatcha doing there? Pusa?” She meowed back to me over her shoulder keeping one eye on the prize.  I hoped she would lose interest in the prize behind the credenza so I could continue my relaxing afternoon.  Cats are not known to be particularly considerate, this was no exception.

I was deeply involved in my “Avian Friends” puzzle determined to finish one of the twelve colorful birds. With only twelve days at this Bayfield, Colorado pet sit, I had to do at least one bird a day to finish.  Besides, I was captivated by the audiobook Eleanor, a biography of Eleanor Roosevelt by David Michaelis. I was at the part when Eleanor just lost a child and I was feeling her profound sadness. Doing a puzzle while listening to an audiobook is a favorite duo of activities for me because it engages both sides of my brain at once to tune the rest of the world out. Sometimes tuning out involves cathartic sadness for the heart, and aco

John was relaxed across the room in a giant Lazy-Boy chair doing his all time favorite activity, editing his photos. We were both spaced out and enjoying it.

Natural light was spilling through the large windows in the main room of the house where we were sitting, overlooking the gentle slopes of the San Juan Mountains. The mountains slowly changed palettes of pastel colors in the morning to deeper tones throughout the day.  Every hour, a new kaleidoscope of color to behold. The sun-painted slope was punctuated by bright yellow yarrow and the fading colors of the spring wildflowers with large deep green pines covering the foothills.

The sound of a large deep muffled chime mingled with the occasional bird chirp and the chatter of a zillion squirrels scurrying through the tall grasses gathering food and supplies for the winter food. A family of eleven wild turkeys ran and gobbled through the meadows every morning after the family of deer finished grazing. Our pet this pet sit visit was a big old black lab, Zoey, who would roll over uninterested in the common wildlife, her dog tag clamping as it hit the natural wood floor to punctuate her disinterest.

There was a feeling of a spiritual retreat: slow paced, calm soft winds, organic produce from the abundant gardens, and deep quiet. For a fast paced gal, I found myself taking smaller, slower, intentional steps to savor every moment.  The only break of my zen was the annoying buzz of a fly buzzing away my bliss.  Other than the occasional shoo of a fly, I was very willing to just do nothing, a rarity for me. 

Another intrusion on my ascent to Nirvana, was Pusa, the cat, who was seeking her prize now stuck behind the credenza.  It was not a priority for me at the moment, but cats have a way of communicating a sense of urgency, generally with yowling and swishing of tails and paws. Her tail was sweeping the floor and her calico face looked over at me as though she was saying as she pawed the piece of furniture, “I am more important than whatever you are doing up there.” Typical cat attitude.

“Ok,” I quietly bargained with her, “when I find one more piece I will move the credenza and find your all important toy.” She got the message and I found the piece and a moment of peace.

I turned off my audiobook, reluctantly pushed out the chair and tended to Pusa. I saw nothing behind the credenza but Pusa was not letting up. I pushed the credenza out a bit more and something was there alright. A dark tan, very long, all curled up….dozing snake. 

Actual photo of snake. Unable to focus through the fear.

Just the word “snake” had John rudely shaken from his dreamy state. He is deathly afraid of all things slithery.  It took all manner of decorum for him to manage to keep his feet on the floor and not jump on the couch or run to the bedroom and shut the door.  It was just a snake.  I was pretty sure it wasn’t poisonous.  Pretty sure, almost certain.

I was not panicking, per se, as I really don’t mind slithery things, as long as they aren’t a rattler.  However, the unwanted guest was startling. I gently pushed Pusa out of the way. I could see that she was all ready to have some fun with this creature. I could see her intentions to bat it around a bit as she had done this morning with a moth that had made the mistake of landing on the fireplace.  That kind of fun and games would not end well for either of them, I suspected.

The peace, coma-like state from moments dissolved into not quite terror, but my nerves certainly ruffled. I grabbed the nearby leather gloves that I wore when grooming the horses, a plastic bag, and all my gumption and went in to bag the snake.

The snake did not put up the fight I expected. Perhaps we had some kind of mutual understanding of non-threat.  I am no snake charmer, but I was able to snag the snake with more persistence than bravery and put him in a bag with no injury to myself or the snake. Once I had securely placed the snake in the bag, I walked it way down the road and gently put it on a grass patch. It barely moved and I could almost hear it say, “did you have to, I was having such a nice sleep.”

Amidst John’s feverish reaction to the snake, he managed to remember he had his camera in his hand. When I returned he was back in his snuggly chair editing the snake pictures. They were a little shaky. So, he let me take care of the snake on my own, but at least he documented the event.  

Pusa high-tailed it out of the cat door looking for some more fun with the wildlife. The reality is that when there are so many critters outside, you can plan on an uninvited quest inside from time to time.

Once the outside animals were returned back to outside, I returned to my audiobook, puzzle and tranquility.


I knew the snake wasn’t poisonous because of the shape of its head:

There is plenty to do in the Bayfield area:

Very engaging book about Eleanor Roosevelt:

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