I realized after re-reading the first post I wrote after Fletch died, that I hadn't talked specifically about what happened. That was for a couple of reasons. 1. I could barely write what I had written because it was hard to even "pen" the reality of his passing, and 2. I'm not sure we'll ever know the exact cause of death.
Anyway, if this is too depressing, I understand. I just really want to share today about our boy. I tend to make what should be a shorter story a little longer because I like details. So here goes...
A little over a week ago, Shawn and I were pretty preoccupied by the fact that we really needed to go house hunting sooner rather than later. Seeing a really nice home during our overly frequent internet searches occurred and we both knew that it was important to just go, hunt, and eventually purchase our new place. We kept hearing talk of us moving in March, but we just didn't know the exact date. We have friends coming to visit us here for a week plus we still have day trips we would like to take which really limits our time to find said home to begin with.
During that week, Shawn was trying to coordinate a house hunting trip and life was happily going along. Fletch wasn't exactly himself, but he did have a little scratch or sore on his nose and we thought it might be bugging him. Another thing that affects his mood is when he senses that we are going away and leaving him. He might also behave in a somber way. I learned awhile back to just hide the suitcases from him, or pack after he is brought to our friends' home. He was a smart dog and I wanted to spare him doggy depression. Each day I had been taking him on really long walks. We both were benefitting from them. He seemed to enjoy them even though he was on the lead all the time and I saw no sign of ill health. (This whole paragraph seems disjointed, but there are some key points here).
On Thursday evening Shawn and I brought Fletch to our friends' home. We couldn't ask for a better place for him to stay. They have always loved him and, boy, did he love them. You should have seen him jump up on each of them with sheer joy and excitement when we entered their home. That's what he always did and he didn't fail to do it that night. His tail was wagging and his bottom going back and forth. You would have had to see him. He was so happy.
On Friday morning we got on our plane and headed to Indiana. We stayed the night, left the kids with Grandma and Grandpa, and headed to Michigan the next morning. Meanwhile, I received a text message saying that Fletch had been sick (he vomited twice) and was limping. They took him to the vet who thought it was a strain for which both pain medicine and antibiotics were administered. The doctor asked them to bring him back if he worsened. The next day, he was worse and Jane noticed that Fletch's left, front limb was larger than the right. Her husband took Fletch to the vet and Phil informed him that there was swelling. When he palpated his limb, Fletch reacted and went towards the vet because it caused him pain. The doctor suggested that he keep him overnight to keep watch over him and to give him a drip of antibiotics and fluids. He said he had cellulitis that may have been caused by the sore on his nose. He was also dehydrated. By Sunday, Fletch had gotten even worse. The doctor decided to shave his entire left leg so that he can further examine him and found a bite just above his pad.
They had mentioned how snake bites were not common at this time of year, but it could, in fact, be that, or some other type of animal. How devastating!
When I really thought and thought about it, Fletch had been off the lead 12 days prior to that. Why do I remember the exact number of days? Because it was right after the blizzard we had where the area kids were off of school for a week. Yes, a week. They had been sledding all over that same area and Fletch was having a field day with no one else around. It was one of those days where he refused to come when called. I called and called to him for about 10 minutes and I also couldn't see him. I even called the kids to tell them to look out for him coming home. He did that on occasion. The area he was in was a place he liked to dig in the spring and summer on occasion because rabbits are everywhere there. Rabbits and apparently snakes.
If he was bitten by a snake known as an "Adder", it would have been because he interrupted the snake's hibernation. The snake's first bite after hibernating is the most venomous because it's concentrated. We can't prove that it was a snake bite, but we do know that the bite is what caused septicemia in him and eventually shut his kidneys down. In Fletcher's last moments he struggled to breath. It was at that point that we made the heartbreaking decision to put him to sleep. Shawn had spoken to the vet, because there is no way I could have, and her best recommendation was to do that and stop his suffering.
What a shock! We had no idea that our beloved dog was sick other than his sore nose. He acted so bravely that week and went on every walk with me happily. He ate all of his meals and we never once noticed a limp. Actually Shawn saw him limp on one occasion a week and a half before we traveled. How could he have been so asymptomatic and then get gravely ill out of nowhere?
I'm not sure. Thankfully the Lord is seeing each of us through day by day. We are all getting stronger and can even talk about him. It is hard to look at photos of him, but I am thankful that we have so many.
Thank you for listening and for lovingly praying for us. It has made a world of difference.