JEFFERSON COUNTY, Colo. — A Lakewood man spent four days in the hospital after he was bitten by a rattlesnake at Westminster Hills Dog Park Sunday.
Richard Boggs said he was walking through the park. looking up at birds in the sky, when he felt a sharp pain in his ankle.
"It was a beautiful day, and the last thing on my mind was a rattlesnake," he said. "I felt a sharp prick and I did a double-take in my mind. I didn't even realize I had been bit at that moment."
He looked down and saw a full-grown rattlesnake at his feet.
"When I first got bit, I was screaming at the sky. I was a little afraid that I wasn't going to make it," Boggs said.
He backed away from the snake, called 911 and sat down. Officials said that was the best thing he could have done in the situation.
"You want to remain calm," said Matt Robbins with Jefferson County Open Space. "We've actually heard of people getting up and running. That's the worst possible thing you can do. All that's doing is moving the venom through your body in a much quicker way."
Emergency crews drove up the trail and took Boggs to Good Samaritan Medical Center in Lafayette.
"The ride over there was pretty painful," Boggs said.
He was released Thursday night and is recovering at home in Lakewood.
"Ugly, ugly and extremely painful," Boggs said of the wound. "It goes all the way up the back side of my leg. They say the rattlesnake was probably 5 or 6 feet long."
Despite the pain, Boggs said he doesn't harbor any ill will toward the snake.
"It's not his fault. It's mine," he said.
Wildlife experts recommend wearing closed-toed shoes and not using headphones, as rattlesnakes can often be heard before they are seen.
If you are bitten, try to remain calm and call 911.
A GoFundMe account has been established for Boggs. He estimates his medical bills could cost well over $10,000.