He warns her to be on the lookout for snakes during our walks in the hills. Rattlesnakes and copperheads and water moccasins share the woods and creeks, as do the less lethal black snakes and racers. Usually, Cody and I take care of that job for her--Cody dashing noisily ahead on the path, alert for danger, while I follow along behind, making sure she has not fallen or otherwise hurt herself.
The other day, though, she spotted it first. It looked like a long, broken stick. But then she realized a broken stick would not conform so firmly to the concrete parking block over which it had "fallen." So she looked for movement at one end, and then the other. That's when she saw the forked tongue flicking quickly in and out of an open mouth. She was tempted to get closer, to see if the snake had the elliptical pupils and diamond head of a poisonous snake. But by then we had felt her concern. Cody got between her and the snake, while I herded her farther away from it.
She watched as made its way slowly across the black asphalt, towards a grassy catch basin, and eventually lost sight of it as we climbed up and over a familiar hill. None of us had expected to see a three foot long snake crawling across the parking lot where she had parked the car. Next time, we'll know better.