The One When Lucy Got Scooby Scared

We used to have quite a little farm at our home. Having lots of pets makes for lots of stories and this was one I remember like yesterday... Our mini poodle Lucy FREAKED out. One second she was trotting without a care ahead of me as I walked to the kitchen and the next she's practically jumping into my arms like Scooby into Shaggy's. Something in the shadows by the piano startled her - and by startled I mean she literally skidded to a stop and back peddled on her clicky little paws until she slipped - back legs first - down the stairs. Now, mind you, normally Lucy assertively goes for any little critters she finds....like crickets and beetles, or grasshoppers, even mice. She scared up a rat from the side yard a few weeks back and killed it. She keeps the stray cats in their place, tried to take on a skunk last week, and even attempted to bark a Rottweiler into submission at the beach a couple of days ago. But this time she was acting more like a scaredy cat, instead of my usual perky poodle. She kept tentatively prowling forward investigating something she'd seen in the shadows...nose to the ground, paws moving slowly like a chameleon on a twig, then skittering back, with that puffball of a tail tucked between her hunched up legs. I couldn't, for the life of me see what the heck was setting her off. I flipped on all the lights and called for the boys who were upstairs watching Captain America. She kept at it..sneaking forward, skittering back, glancing uneasily toward me, gathering courage, then at it again...all attention focused on the space between the upright piano and the wall. At this point I was getting a little Scooby-scared myself. "What the heck has her so messed up?" I asked as the boys emerged and surveyed the situation from the top of the stairs. There's Lucy still nervously vacillating between brave hunter and scared sissy sneaking back and forth from my feet to the piano shadow. Then Jonathan, after gathering in all he needed to know headed calmly down the stairs and says one word. One word that upon hearing causes me to scoop up Lucy and scoot out of his way: "Dean." "It's Dean." my son states frankly. Yes, folks, it was Dean, Jonathan's 2 foot long python. Dean had somehow slithered unnoticed from his cage in Jonathan's upstairs room, out his door, across the hall, down the stairs and was now behind the piano in the living room. Jonathan tugged the piano away from the wall and saw a portion of Dean's long body. He tried to grab him but Dean's apparently feeling comfy in his new crib, which, by the way is a few feet away from our three pet rats. (Yes. We also own rats. Stay focused.) Dean has tightened and plumped his already thick body like a Ballpark Frank making him fit super snug in the small space between the base of the piano and the hardwood floor. Jonathan tries again to snag Dean, but no go. So, hubby steps in and lifts the piano giving Jonathan more access to Dean and allowing him to dig him from his den. The python now in hand, Glen lowers the piano, I release Lucy, and Jonathan heads upstairs to return the python from his pilgrimage to our piano. Lucy is now fully recovered and back to her brave little self, sniffing the piano's shadow and prancing around as if to say, "That's right. I smoked that snake right out, baby!" All in a night's work here at the Richmond household.

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