Wednesday, February 03, 2010

So what exactly happened to Fletch??

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.


Denise said...

Oh Carol, it's still so heartbreaking to think about it, but I appreciate you taking the time to tell us more, and I don't mind a long story at all, I always want the details (is that just a woman thing? my hubby asks for the shorter version every time I tell him something) ;-)
I'm making plans to come home... Mam is not getting much better right now so I want to spend some time with her in case this is her time to go. Only God knows, but I don't want to put off any longer.
Thank you for your prayers

Andrea said...

I am so sorry. Our 10 pound, 10 year old toy poodle jumped between a rattle snake and his human sister when he was about 4 years old and got bit. Fortunately only one fang got him. Even with the venom from only one fang we almost lost him. He was in doggie ICU for days and we worked with him and kept him close for several weeks. We had to beg him to eat and drink. I thank GOD for him pulling through and I am sooooo sorry you had to endure this. I am sending great big hugs to each of you and LOTS of prayers,

Joyce said...

I was telling my husband this story and we both said we didn't realize there were poisonous snakes in England. It's such a sad story..sending more hugs to you today!

steffenboysmom said...

Oh wow Carol! A snake! He was a brave dog.

Praying healing on your heart!

Darcie said...

Thank you for sharing this with us Carol...I had wondered "what" had happened as well, but didn't want to ask for fear of putting you through unnecessary sadness explaining it. I thought maybe in your own time you would be ready. That's to bad that it was him just doing what he loved...being a dog...that ended up putting him in danger of snakes :-(

Pam said...

I am glad you wrote out all the details, I am a detail person too... :) I pray that God continues HIS healing of your broken hearts...

McCrakensx4 said...

Oh Carol, that breaks my heart. I know what it feels like to lose a pet,but this was so sudden that good byes where not even an option. I just hope and pray that God helps you get through this and know that even though Fletch is not with you here, he will always be in your hearts. Take care and have peace...

Heart2Heart said...


Thank you for sharing this heart-warming story of part of your family that you've lost! We are with you in thoughts and prayers and completely understand just what this loyal member of your family has meant to all of you.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat



Now I know why I searched to find your blog today. You have been heavy on my heart for about a week and today it was intense and I couldn't remember the exact title of your blog. I did have your e-mail so I went back to a past post to find you!

Oh Wow! I am praying for you now. Losing a family pet is very hard. We lost or 2nd of only 3 dogs when she was hit by a car suddenly after chasing a neighbors rooster that had wandered into our yard. I had never seen my husband so upset about anything in his whole life before that. That was more than 10 years ago - but I can remember the devastation.

I will be praying for your friends who took care of Fletch while he went through this. God spared you of the 'end' - but it sounds like he gave you the perfect family to care for him when all this happened. Still they must feel awful too.

I am signing up today on your blog and will put yours on my links too so I don't miss anything like this again!

I am so sorry for your loss. God knows how much we love our animals and we even know that from Scripture because of the story that the prophet Nathan tells David when he was confronting him of his sin with Bathsheba. It was the story of the little lamb - that ate at the old man's table. That shows how much God cares - that we care about our pets. He made 'pets' for that purpose!

With loving arms around you now...

Choosing JOY, Stephanie
JESUS ONLY in 2010

Anonymous said...

I'm just so sorry. This is unbelievable! Thank you for sharing this story with us. I pray that you are all finding peace and enjoying sweet memories of your boy. Hugs and Love, Kim

Mikki said...

Oh dear sweet friend. I know exactly how you feel. We lost our faithful friend in October. It was sudden (thought he was old) and it just ripped our hearts out.

Time does heal with these things, but I know it hurts. My heart breaks for you and I pray for beautiful memories to flood the sadness..

Susan said...

Hello Carol, I know just how you feel. We lost our dear Reina right after Christmas. I know how it hurts. I made a tribute page for her at my blog. I will be praying that Reina and Fletch are playing together in Doggie Heaven. Hugs

The Lehman's said...

Carol--Thank you so much for sharing the story. What a good brave dog. julie :)

Diana said...

We can all feel for you! That is so tough.

Come see me soon.