Published: May 22, 2014 10:59 AM EDT

LAKE WALES, Fla. (AP) - An American bulldog puppy died and its mother and another puppy are recovering after a rattlesnake bit them outside a rural central Florida home on Tuesday afternoon.
    
Candy Sappington, who owns the dogs, told the Ledger of Lakeland (http://bit.ly/1i797FA ) that the mother dog, Maisy, and the puppies started barking when they spotted the snake coiled up at the bottom of her front steps. She said she watched in shock as the 6-foot-2-inch rattlesnake bit Maisy on the right ear.
    
Sappington's 16-year-old son, Phillip, shot the snake with a .22-caliber rifle.
    
At first she didn't realize the puppies were bitten, but one of them, Chubb, died early Wednesday before receiving anti-venom to treat the snake bite.
    
Maisy and the other puppy, Tundra, have been given one vial each of anti-venom, which costs $700 per vial.
    
Sappington said Maisy was protecting her from the snake.
    
"Everybody says I should feel lucky right now," Sappington said. "I don't feel too lucky. I would have taken all three hits if I could."
    
She says it would have been easier to find the anti-venom and less costly to treat her than the dogs.
    
The dogs are being cared for by Loren Nations of Veterinary Healthcare Associates in Winter Haven.
    
Sappington said she and her husband have cashed out their savings to care for the dogs.
    
"There's not much that you won't do for your kids and that's how I feel (about the dogs)," she said. "They saved me, now I'm going to do everything in my power to save them."
    
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Information from: The Ledger (Lakeland, Fla.), http://www.theledger.com

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