Rattlesnake in letter writer’s home.
On July 29th, I came face to face with a four-foot-long rattlesnake. All my gratitude goes to my mailman, Patrick Dorn, who has been working for the U.S. Postal Service for thirty-three years. Pat, as I know him, has been safely removing snakes from homes all around the Mira Vista Hills where I live for years, always on his own time. In only the last five years, Pat has relocated at least seven snakes, protecting all the human (and reptile!) lives involved.
That warm July morning, I spent the early hours doing chores around my house. I stepped outside to water plants and feed the birds, and when I returned inside, I heard a strange noise I couldn’t place. It reminded me of a loud hiss, like air escaping a pipe, so I called my daughter to tell her about what I thought was a gas leak. Her husband suggested that perhaps a water pipe had burst under the house, a common issue in my area.
So I went about my usual business, tidying up my living room and cleaning my dining room table. For nearly two hours, the hissing continued, and I was completely puzzled, looking all around my house as I asked my daughter to come over and inspect it with me. When she arrived with a small search party, my tiny Japanese Chin was mysteriously quiet; usually, when I have visitors, my dog barks very loudly, but today she was whimpering. I never even considered why she was so silent.
Postal Carrier Patrick Dorn
Together with my daughter, her husband, and my son-in-law, we began to search for the source of the hissing. I was looking at the ceiling when suddenly, my daughter grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me backwards, her landing on top of me. We landed on a table, toppling it, sending remotes and snacks clattering to the floor. It happened so quickly I had no time to question her actions, no time to even feel pain, because from there on the floor, I could see the source of the bizarre noise.
There, under my dining room table — the very same table I had cleaned earlier that day! — was an enormous rattlesnake, curled up and shaking its tail. It was a huge, thick adult with at least eight rattles on its tail, and my heart jumped into my throat. My daughter helped me scramble to a safe distance, and all at once, my son-in-law and my daughter’s husband began to debate how to safely get rid of the snake. Animal Services was closed that day, and although we called the police, they never arrived. As the men in the room pondered the safest way to remove the reptile threat, I recalled my mailman Pat telling me to call him if I ever found a snake in my home. Fingers shaking, I quickly dialed his number.
Pat explained that he and his wife were “on vacation,” enjoying lunch at a Chinese restaurant and preparing to leave for Hawaii the next day. Nonetheless, not thirty minutes later, Pat arrived at my home with a borrowed snake stick. If the snake had come into my house just a day later, Pat would never have been able to come get him.
Exuding calm expertise, Pat set an empty trash bin beside my table and brandished the snake stick. Slowly, he pulled out one of the chairs, and the snake rattled again, the sound almost deafening in my echoing living room. With careful and practiced movements, Pat pinched the snake with the stick and lifted it, gently placing it at the bottom of the trash can before placing the top on. Now the snake could be relocated far away from my and other homes in the Mira Vista Hills.
I felt my body slump with relief, and all I could do was thank Pat over and over for coming to help me. No one should ever try what Pat does without the knowledge he has! He knows how to handle these snakes, how to read them and know if they are aggressive or lethargic. This is not a how-to guide for wrangling snakes. This is simply the story of how my kind and brave mailman saved me from a rattlesnake, and I am so happy that Patrick Dorn is my friend and now my savior.
The writer chose to remain anonymous.