|Luke Stackhouse & Dabby|
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Snake in a pickup? Pricey repair bill for man who lost pet
Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013
Price of a baby boa constrictor: $300. Service bill for dismantling the dashboard of a 2005 Ford F-150 to retrieve a baby boa constrictor: About $1,300 before discount.
The story about how a baby boa got stuck inside the dash of a pickup truck: Priceless.
In hindsight, maybe taking his 3-foot-long pet snake with him to the pet shop to pick up her dinner wasn’t a good idea.
But 18-year-old Luke Stackhouse said he often takes Dabby, who is 6 months old, on short road trips. He turns on the defroster and she makes herself at home on the dashboard, Stackhouse said.
“She likes to curl up where the heat is,” the Langhorne teen explained.
Stackhouse said he never had any problems until Wednesday evening while he was driving to the pet store to pick up mice for Dabby.
“I looked down, and her head was missing, and I was like, where did her head go?” he recalled.
Then he noticed that half of her body also had disappeared. Somehow, Dabby managed to slither into an opening between the dashboard and the windshield, Stackhouse said. He still has no idea how that happened since the crack is so small he couldn’t fit his finger in it.
He grabbed hold of the tail end of Dabby’s body, jammed on the brakes and pulled over. For 20 minutes, Stackhouse held onto her, hoping she’d let herself be pulled back onto the dashboard. Eventually, he let go because he was worried he might seriously hurt or kill Dabby.
When he let go, Dabby headed straight behind the dashboard and into the depths of the pickup.
After driving the pickup home, Stackhouse tried different ways to entice Dabby out of her hiding place.
First, he plugged in a heating pad, thinking Dabby would be attracted to the heat and wriggle out of her hiding place. Then, he tried a mouse snack. No go. The snake stayed put.
Stackhouse didn’t get much sleep that night. He set alarms every hour so he’d wake up and start the pickup engine, afraid Dabby would freeze to death otherwise.
Around 8 a.m., he decided to call in the professionals. He took his car to the John Kennedy Ford dealership in Lower Southampton, where he had bought it earlier this year.
Service manager Jim Mullen is used to more mundane work orders, like oil changes or state inspections. Removing a snake stuck inside a pickup’s cab — that was a groundbreaker.
While an employee initially quoted the service bill cost at $1,300, Mullen said the dealership gave the teen a break, charging him a deep discount of $500.32.
“I’ve never run across anything like that,” he added.
Service center mechanics had no idea where the snake was hiding inside the truck, so they had to dismantle and remove the dashboard. Stackhouse helped with the retrieval attempts, while other employees captured the rescue using cellphone cameras.
After three hours and several false alarms, Stackhouse managed to snag Dabby out of the driver’s side of the dismantled dash. Despite an anticipated repair bill, he said it was worth it.
“I’m so happy,” he said, as he slumped back in the driver’s seat with Dabby coiled around his forearm. “This is such a relief.”