Watching Red and Quail roam around their Bradenton yard, it’s hard to believe the hearty looking bull terrier mixes were close to death a few weeks ago.

  • Two East Bradenton dogs were attacked by a rattlesnake
  • Red and Quail both recovered after a lengthy and expensive animal hospital visit
  • Owner Heather Anthony believes the pair was protecting her

When Heather Anthony, the pups’ human, opened her front door last month to hear her two dogs barking, she initially suspected the playful pair had wandered across a turtle.

Unfortunately for Red and Quail, they were face-to-face with a rattlesnake.

“It just kept striking and striking,” Anthony said of the snake. “It was kind of one of those things where eventually somebody’s going to get bit.”

Anthony’s son, Joseph Papa, was inside when he said he heard his mother screaming.

Papa, 17, ran to help. He grabbed the first object he saw and threw it at the snake. When that didn’t work, he opted for a shovel instead.

"I was like, ‘well I have to kill it fast or everyone else was going to get bit,’" said Papa.

Anthony and her son escaped unharmed, but Red and Quail were both bitten at least once. After being rushed to a local animal hospital, they spent weeks recovering.

Their medical bills added up to $16,000.

"If that dog had not been so adamant about protecting me,” started Anthony. “It could have been myself or my son.”

*Joseph Papa, 17, estimates the snake was more than 6-feet long