Shiloh, who appears to be a border collie-Australian shepherd mix, stepped in to intervene when the toddler strode nonchalantly towards a copperhead snake – bravely taking a bite intended for a human.
Fur beats scales
Eighteen-month old Bryson Holloway was just resting on his porch in Sevierville, the home of Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park, when the rambling instinct seemed to grab him.
Copperheads are known as ambush predators: they wait for prey to come to them, and are rarely aggressive otherwise. Although bites from copperheads rarely kill grown humans, the Holloway boy’s 24lb frame was ripe for becoming snake food.
As Bryson tottered towards the lawn, he had no idea the snake was lying in wait.
“Shiloh jumped up and took off after him,” Bryan Holloway told WATE. “He lunged right towards the baby and at the baby’s feet, and when he did he kind of jerked back.”
“[Bryan] goes, ‘Get the baby now and take him in the house,’” adds Bryson’s mother, Alicia.
As the humans scarpered, Shiloh did battle with the snake – and incurred a nip as he scared the creature away.
“As furry as he is, and he has so much fur around his neck, you could visibly see the swelling,” Bryan continues.
Cast out the serpent
Then things started to get weird.
“Bryson started running back and forth on the porch and started laughing and smiling,” Alicia told WLVT, “and the Lord spoke to me and said, ‘I protected this baby, I put this dog right there to protect your child.’”
The Lord was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
After antibiotics and pain relief, brave Shiloh was able to make a full recovery. Meanwhile, the copperhead snake was last seen heading for Dollywood.