BROOKSVILLE, Fla. - The owners of two dogs who were bitten by a rattlesnake are warning others to be on the lookout. Their 9-year-old dog, Jango, was killed when he was bitten outside their Brooksville home over the weekend.
Dan Henderson and Jon Rappahahn first fell in love with their house in Brooksville because of what their three acres offered their dogs.
"It was all fenced in," said Henderson. "So it gave ample room for the dogs to run and play and be dogs."
Pictured: Dan Henderson and Jon Rappahahn's dogs Hurc, Junior, Bronson and Jango
Last Sunday, they were visiting family in Upstate New York, while a dog sitter kept watch over their dogs – Hurc, Junior, Bronson and Jango. At around 6:30 a.m., they got a call.
"The dogs were bleeding and something was wrong," said Henderson.
Bronson and Jango had been in the yard and were bitten by a snake. By the time they were back, the vets had given them antivenin, but said it was touch-and-go.
Bronson's face was badly swollen, and two days after the bite, Jango was in even worse shape. They were with him when he eventually passed away.
"You can't explain [the feeling]," said Rappahahn. "You're never going to have an animal to replace him. We don't have children. So those are we're like our children, our fur babies, I guess you could say. So we spoiled them."
With the type of land they live on, they said there's very little that could have been done to prevent this. But Henderson and Rappahahn do have some advice for other dog owners.
Pictured: Jango and Bronson
"Just be cautious and think twice and just check your yards before letting your animals out for something as simple as going to the bathroom," said Rappahahn.
The snake has not been found, but they do believe it was a rattlesnake that was potentially living in a gopher hole.
"When Jango went outside, Bronson would follow him around," said Rappahahn. "So I think that's probably why they both got bit, they were one and the same."
Bronson will have to go on without his sidekick.
"They both sleep in the bed. And now, if there's one less than the bad at my feet, it's hard enough. So I'm just thankful we were able to save one of them."
One animal foundation said there are 150,000 dogs and cats bitten by snakes every year. Most are not deadly, especially if treated quickly.
Bronson and Jango were treated within an hour.