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Teen bitten twice by rattlesnake

Posted at 3:39 PM, Jun 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-12 18:39:09-04
A teen bitten this week by a rattlesnake is recovering at home. She had been in the hospital since Thursday.
13-year-old Melina Moerkerken adores animals from fish to the feathery kind. In her backyard are chickens, ducks, geese and inside -- in her bedroom -- two lovebirds.
How does she feel about snakes? We'll get to that later. The rattlesnake she describes -- wasn't much bigger than this wooden one. "It was curled up while the head was standing up," she said.
At a distance, she didn't see it or hear it before it bit her.
Melina was part of a church youth group doing charity work -- walking shelter dogs from the Pima Animal Care Center. "While I was walking I felt something hit the back of my ankle like if I stepped on a stick and it hit back," she said.
The rattler -- a baby one she believes -- struck twice -- back to back. She said, "I looked back saw blood and said uh oh. And I looked in front of me and I saw a snake and I said I think it bit me."
Fortunately, a nurse in the church group took over while Melina, shocked and in tears, called her mom, Alicia, who was home way over on the east side. In shock and nervous,  she rushed to her daughter. "I was getting every red light. So I think that was part of the preparation -- okay get it all out now. So when you get there I got to be the strong one," said Alicia. To see her daughter in pain -- her leg swelling and red as the venom traveled. It stopped just below the knee.
Melina stayed in the hospital a few days before returning home with nearly two months of recovery time.
She says she doesn't mind snakes and she has no intentions of stopping her charity work. "It don't think this is going to stop me. I'm still going to help. I won't let this drag me down," said Melina.
"I know Melina has a big heart. And she will continue to do that kind of work. And to watch out for snakes. And watch out for snakes definitely," said Alicia.