Dog Gone It

Fletcher took his last breath tonight. After slowly deteriorating over the last few years, needing carpet runners to keep grip inside and not making it out the door because his back legs were uncoordinated, without hitting his hip, running into the shed or falling over. In the last month he slowly couldn’t support his weight on his front legs either and found it really hard to poo. Over the the last 5 days, he has just slept, stopped wagging his tail when we patted him, wound’t eat and finally this morning, wee’d the bed. Foster and I spent the day with him, we took him in the pool, brushed him, watched TV with him outside and patted and loved him all day.  The vet confirmed he had a degenerative Myelopathy of sorts (nervous spine condition) and quite possibly also a brain tumor (unrelated to the mobility), because he had started a slight tremor in the last few days.  There was no doubt it was time and he made his 15th birthday and with that and a few deep breaths, he was gone.  We loved him, Foster has known him his entire life, he was our entire life before Foster came along. He gave us joy, accepted every living thing into his home with welcome arms, a duck, a turtle, a borrowed cat and a little boy!  He taught other humans how good life can be with a dog.  Now for the funny stories……

Like the time he got locked in the new car in Bute all night.  The next day in 29 degrees when we looked around the farm at 11am for him and couldn’t find him, then realised he was in the car – had diarrhea and the keys were in the car! The best dog in the world, never barked when he needed help or to go out side or for attention, he just looked at you or marched on the floor so you could hear him. If only he’d barked that day – he would not have spent the night in the car, and we would not have spent the day cleaning the car – god that stunk for weeks till we had it detailed.

Or the time I got a call from the Fulham Gardens Fruit & Veg shop telling me our dog was inside, greeting all their customers

Or the time our dog was missing and when I checked the answering machine there was a message.  Upon returning the call, the lady offered to drop him back, while waiting out the front for him, he arrived, sitting in he front seat, like her partner!

Or like the time he got out on NYE TWICE, we picked him up at 2am.  The next day we got a phone call advising us that they had also put Fletch back in our yard, the previous night.  He had a bigger NYE than us.

Or like the time we were at Pt Elliot, we heard him jump the fence, by the time we got in the car (it was very late) he was gone.  We drove around the neighborhood, then got a phone call from a very drunk lad saying “we got your dog dude, he’s so cool, he can stay if he wants”,  Fletcher had found a party!

As you can see he had a jumping theme in his younger years, he could’ve trained as an agility dog, he could leap on the dining room table from a standing start, like the time we were playing Billionaire and the next minute – there he was on top of the table watching us, wondering “what is all this yelling about?”

My final and most favourite story: driving Tapleys Hill Road 80km zone with Fletch and Fos (Foster in a strapped in a car seat, about 4). We see a little white dog running on the opposite side of the road with a car stopped and 4 people filed out, yelling at cars to slow down.  We end up stopping – as the white dog has crossed the road and is now about three cars ahead of ours, running the way we are driving.  Fletcher leaps out the window and starts chasing the white dog – clearly he wants to help.  He had the white dog trapped on the bridge, the white dog doesn’t know whether to jump or run.  I say to Foster “stay here” and get out the car to chase Fletcher. Eventually the white dog squeezes back through the bridge, scanters across 3 lanes of oncoming traffic and disappears.  I turn relieved my dog has not harmed him, only to find my dog now missing.  I scream “where is my dog?” and I hear a lady yelling about 5 cars away, “there’s a dog in my car, there’s a dog in my car”.  I run to the car in question and there is Fletch, sitting in the passenger seat, like he belongs there!  I apologise profusely and drag him out the car and she responds “don’t worry about it, I’m from Melbourne, this is the best holiday ever, they said Adelaide was boring!”  OMG that was a day – if Foster hadn’t been in the car, no-one would believe it, but that is a memory we both will never forget.

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