Winter Haven dogs survive rattlesnake bites; donations help family pay for costly treatments

There’s good news for two of three dogs bitten by a rattlesnake in Polk County last week.
 
The dogs were finally able to go home Tuesday.
 
"I watch every step that I take, literally," said their owner, Candy Sappington.
 
Sappington has good reason. Last week, a deadly encounter played out just feet away.
 
"They heard me screaming and they jumped in," said Sappington describing the encounter.
 
As she walked out of her home, she nearly stepped on a massive 6-foot diamond back rattle snake. Her oldest dog, Mazie, was the first to get bit, just seconds later Chubb and Tundra, Mazie’s puppies, came running around the corner.
 
Sadly Chubb, the youngest of the bunch, wouldn’t survive the attack.
 
"He made sure the girls got back away from the snake and he tried to take control," said Sappington.
 
The other two were rushed to the vet and recovery hasn’t been easy. Both Tundra and Mazie needed dozens of treatments just to survive.
 
"My main goal was to do anything in my power to save them," said Sappington.
 
Saving them resulted in a massive bill, but the community isn't letting Candy do it on her own. Since the attack, donations poured in to the tune of more than $8,000.
 
"Without the communities support, without everybody’s support, the girls would not have made it," said Sappington holding back tears.
 
That support helped lead to an emotional reunion Tuesday as Tundra and Mazie finally headed home and candy had a tearful message to all those who gave so much.
 
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said Sappington. “Me and my dogs will forever be grateful."
 
All that remains as far as her bill is just over $450. If you would like to help her pay the rest, you’re asked to contact Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven at 863-324-3340.
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