For 70-year-old Darrell Layne and his best buddy, a black lab named Onex, their daily strolls are a tradition.
"We'll go back on the same route and he will swim in the creek and everything," said Layne.
The two have a lot in common - both have huge hearts, warm and welcoming smiles and both bravely served our nation.
Layne spent 22 years in the Navy. Onex trained in Iraq to sniff out weapons. He served in the Middle East before ending up in Clarksville in November.
"I'm his partner and he's my partner," said Layne.
The veterans recently wound up in the trenches together. During one of their long walks, Layne picked up a piece of wood and found a deadly enemy underneath.
"I knew I was in trouble. Like a foot from my foot, I'm looking at this copperhead and he was in a coil, and his head was cocked, and was ready to get my ankle. Just, all of a sudden, he made a little move, the dog did, and the snake's attention went from me to the dog, and that's when I got a chance to get out of the way. And at the same time, the dog went for the snake," explained Layne.
Onex took two venomous bites. Layne killed the snake and drove Onex to the hospital.
One could not have survived with out the other.
"It's like he knew that I was in trouble too, and we just had to help one another. That's the way it was," said Layne.
Onex suffered a swollen head and endured a few days at the veterinarian's office.
Things are now back to normal and the pair is now back to their daily strolls - just man and man's best friend.
"Whoever came up with that phrase, they came up with a good one because it's unconditional love," said Layne.
Wildlife officers said rattlesnakes, cottonmouths and copperheads all live in Montgomery County and can be deadly.
Rattlesnakes typically make a noise before attacking. Cottonmouths live in and around water. Copperheads can live anywhere and strike without warning.
Wildlife officers also said if you or your pet is bitten it is important to remain as calm as possible. Get to a hospital quickly or a veterinarian if it is your pet and remember as much as you can about what the snake looked like so the doctor can treat the wound properly.
Copyright WSMV 2012 (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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