A Cedar Grove woman says her dog is a hero after he saved her from being bitten by a deadly snake on her property.
It was not the first time Bomber, a Staffordshire terrier-mastiff cross, had come face to face with a venomous brown snake at Donna James' Marion Road property.
Bomber, nine, defied the phrase once bitten twice shy, when he confronted the snake last month.
He had survived a previous encounter with four-foot eastern brown in August, but almost died in the heroic act.
Mrs James knew something was wrong when she found Bomber panting and drooling, before he collapsed.
She thought he had been bitten by a tick before finding the dead snake when she walked outside.
Mrs James rushed Bomber to Park Ridge vet, after putting the snake in a bag in the boot to help with identification.
"That was a heart-starter," she said.
"I picked it up and thought 'goodness', put it in a bag in the boot and that was it."
She was nervous for the 20 minute trip to the animal hospital on the busy Mount Lindesay Highway.
"I didn't speed, but I was tempted to," she said.
"If I got pulled over I could have said I was in a hurry to get to the vet, then told them to look at the snake in the boot."
The second incident happened on September 15, after Mrs James had blissfully lived on the property for more than 20 years without seeing a snake.
Bomber was poised to attack when he spotted it in the yard.
She grabbed him and they escaped through a front gate. Mrs James said she thought the snake was an eastern brown.
She seriously injured a leg in the process, tearing an Achilles tendon.
Mrs James said she was left with a healthy respect for snakes, and paid tribute to Bomber.
"He's absolutely a hero," Mrs James said.
"Especially the second time, because he was looking after me."
Mrs James said she had lived at the property for more than 20 years without seeing a brown or black snake, and was shaken by having two encounters in a month.
"He was ready to pounce, which was heart-pounding," she said.
"Watching him go up to attack the snake was possibly more scary than the after effects of the first time."
"I didn't think I could handle a second snake attack."
She is urging people to watch out for snakes in rural areas as reports of sightings and bites ramp up.
"Particularly dog walkers, I want to make them aware," the retiree said.
"And people who let their horses."
Mrs James urged people in rural areas to be prepared for being bitten.
"I have about 15 bandages in my car in a first-aid kit," she said.
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