Jeraldene McKenna marvels at how Grace survived a snake attack on Tuesday, while daughter Tia holds one of the other cattle dog pups.
Jeraldene McKenna marvels at how Grace survived a snake attack on Tuesday, while daughter Tia holds one of the other cattle dog pups. Renee Pilcher

Kiss of life saves strangled pup

Mrs McKenna and her husband Shane have now dubbed the pup “Amazing Grace”.

A couple of weeks ago they heard their dogs barking from the backyard pen, where mother Samantha had been looking after her 10 pups and went to investigate.

What they found was horrifying, a six foot carpet snake holding onto one of their new pups with its tail end while striking at Samantha, who was desperately trying to get to Grace and stop the snake.

Mrs McKenna said the other pups were running around frantic and scared trying to get away.

The couple tried to get the snake’s grip off Grace but she already looked dead.

Mr McKenna ended up scaring the snake away and it slithered off into the bushes.

“I just thought the pup's dead,” Mrs McKenna said.

But the recently graduated nursing student put her theory into practice and started to push down on Grace’s chest and blow into her nose.

All she could think about was a friend and fellow nursing student who had recently resuscitated a sheep that had drowned, bringing it back from the brink of death with CPR.

She carried Grace to the house all the while breathing into her nose and gently pushing on her chest and miraculously the pup took a breath.

“It blew me away,” she said.

Mrs McKenna didn’t think the pup would come back to life as its tongue was “hanging out and blue”.

But when she took a careful first breath and then a few others, albeit unsteady and shallow, Mrs McKenna decided it was best to hand Grace over to her mother as she would have been in shock.

Samantha licked Grace for a few minutes and then she “came good” and suckled for a bit.

“It was pretty traumatic,” she said.

Grace had already been picked by Mrs McKenna’s youngest daughter, Tia, as her favourite and she didn’t know how to tell her children that the adorable pup may not make it through the night.

But when they all awoke the next morning Grace was “good as gold”.

“(It goes to show) just a couple of breaths can help,” she said.

“They’re tough little cattle dogs.”

Mrs McKenna said she was happy her “gorgeous little dog” survived.

The McKenna’s pups are now seven weeks old and there are five left, they will be selling the remaining five, including their miracle puppy Grace, at the markets this weekend.

Local herpetologist and snake catcher John Keady said the only way that carpet snakes could kill their prey was to restrict breathing, as the carpet snake had no venom.

And if you got there quickly enough the potential victim could be revived.

Mr Keady said a lot of carpet and green tree snakes had been on the move lately but brown snakes had been particularly active in the Gympie region.

He has been receiving up to eight calls a day for his snake relocation services since the wet weather had sent snakes slithering into homes looking for somewhere warm to rest after a busy breeding season.

Snakes will now have offspring out looking for food as the weather warmed up.

Mr Keady said to be wary as juveniles had more toxicity per drop of venom than fully grown snakes and were harder to recognise, easily getting confused with other non-venomous species.

Wet weather will have also brought out some red belly black snakes.

Mr Keady said to be careful around garden edges and mulch, pot plants and clothes left on the floor, especially if doors have been left open. “Be careful some venomous snakes can climb,” he said.

Call Mr Keady if you are having a problem with snakes on 0407 076 711 or 5485 1353.

Gympie Times


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