Today my dogs walked right over a boa constrictor. (Or: A Day in the Life of Gia.)

Someone asked me how I was doing over text message,
and part of my reply included the following…

“I’m good! I’m sorry for not responding sooner. I had a very exciting morning. A boa constrictor struck at me. (Didn’t get close enough to me, so don’t worry.) And I collected a dog skull that I am going to clean and study. Oh, and Ceiba fell in the lake again. But this time he swam out. How are you?”

~ ~ ~

Don Ubaldo and I started our new Dog Schedule today, which means definitely doing two 30 minute walks in the mornings. The first walk was with Ceiba, Jasmine, and Grandfather. The second walk was with Buzz and Watson.

So on the first walk, we were climbing up this hilly area and the three dogs were off leash. When we got to the top, the dogs walked right over a long, thick grey-brown body. When it registered in my brain, snake, I didn’t think that it was alive. We’d never seen a snake in that area before–I’d actually never come across snakes when out exploring with the dogs. Then I saw the tongue flicking, the head moving slightly. It was a boa constrictor or, as they say here in Costa Rica, a béquer. I quickly backed away, said something to don Ubaldo, and we started calling to the dogs, to leash them up.  I love snakes, and boa constrictors aren’t venomous, so I wanted to get a closer look. But of course, I needed to think of the dogs first.

Once don Ubaldo had everyone back on leash, I went to take pictures of the boa. It coiled into a defensive posture, perhaps because it was especially uncomfortable with the [utterly oblivious] dogs. At one point, the snake struck at me, and I saw its mouth open, revealing a shock of beautiful white interior, like a flower suddenly blooming on the end of a long stalk. It wasn’t close enough to bite me, and I understood that it was trying to scare me away, more than anything else. I moved back, and we left soon after.

In regards to the dog skull… months ago, we found the decaying body of a large dog (possibly a Rottweiler/Rottweiler mix) tossed in an empty lot on the side of the road. I wanted to give the dog a proper burial, but no one else was on board with my idea. And because this is Costa Rica, there wasn’t anyone we could call and ask to come collect the body. So as the days passed, we saw the body continue to break down. At one point, I think that someone came by and stuck a stick into the body, which I thought was very disrespectful.

I hadn’t checked out that area for awhile, but when a friend and I took Ceiba and Buzz on a walk yesterday, we found that the dog’s skull was resting on a heap of dirt. Today I went to get it, accompanied by some of the Critter Crew (don Ubaldo, Buzz, and Watson). I figured that I would clean it up and study it (as part of being a knowledgeable dog trainer, of course), and I would rather that the skull be cared for with me instead of left in the sad place with some of the body still more flesh than bone. The skull was adorned with ants and flies and brown liquid. After getting the skull into a plastic bag, I had a bunch of little insects (they appeared to be tiny flies) clinging to my arms. Luckily, I’m not particularly squeamish.

Don Ubaldo helped me to tackle a bunch of dish washing today, and we scrubbed and washed all the dog and cat bowls. All of them.

I also started organizing a bunch of the dog supplies.

The amazing hat was given to me by someone at the farmer’s market last Saturday.

– And Ceiba experienced his first Kong.

So all in all, it’s been an eventful and efficient Day 1 of the new schedule. 😉

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