BRANDON (FOX 13) - A pair of pooches is being credited with protecting two toddlers from a threatening snake, but one of them is still recovering after getting a little too close.
Grandmother Melissa Butt says her grandkids were playing the back yard when their day almost turned deadly. Melissa's grandchildren, Zayden, 4, and Mallory, 1, were playing in their Brandon backyard.
'Slayer' and their other dog, 'Paco,' suddenly became laser-focused on something in the grass.
"Generally they will listen and come when called," Melissa told FOX 13. "But they weren't. They were just standing there, barking."
Melissa thinks the snake was a copperhead. With the grandkids a few feet away, the dogs stood their ground, but the reptile managed to bite both the dogs.
Slayer won out in the end, killing the snake. Paco, bitten on the front leg, had relatively minor injuries.
Slayer, however, was in bad shape.
"His entire right side of his face [was] swollen," she said. "He had a little sack of fluid that dropped from his chin."
For three long days, Melissa wondered if Slayer would pay the price for standing between a snake and her grandchildren.
"He has been afraid and nervous as much as we have been," said Butt.
Strong doses of antivenin at Blue Pearl and a bout of fundraising from animal rescue group Frankie's Friends helped nurse the family's best friend back to health.
"We get to see him and let him know we didn't abandon him. He is still ours. We are going to bring him home as soon as we can," she said. "Everything will be OK... He is going to look back on this and say, 'I was just able to make more friends.'"
Slayer took two doses of antivenin. Frankie's Friends raised over $7,000 to help pay for it.
Now, Slayer is the one with the wagging tail, but he couldn't be any happier than his owner.
"I [am] beyond excited," said Butt. "I don't know what the word would be."