Meg Trammell, age 11, had just eaten supper after her first day of school at Advent Episcopal School in downtown Birmingham, Alabama. “My mom and I decided to take the dogs on a walk,” recalled Meg, now 12 years old, as she described the late mid-August evening in the suburbs of Birmingham. “As we were walking out, I heard something jingle in the door, so I turned around and it was my mother’s car keys from when we took in the groceries,” said Meg. Ignoring

the keys, she continued down the steps, pulled by dogs eager for a romp in the yard. The front stoop is just two steps leading down from the front door, said her mother Suzanne Scott-Trammell. Azalea bushes bookend the steps of the house, which sits on a lawn in front of a creek that runs through the town, home to 33,000. “I felt something sting my toe,” said Meg, who was wearing sandals at the time. “I immediately started crying. I thought: ‘A snake bit me and I’m gonna die!’ ” READ MORE