Just before I went on maternity leave, I ran bloodwork on Fletcher, which was normal. His most recent cardiologist visit showed no progression of his heart murmur. He has been blessed with good care and good genes. This year he has shown a lot of signs of slowing down and we began to think this was going to be his last year. As my pregnancy advanced towards spring, Eric would jokingly say, in Fletcher's voice, 'Hurry up and have that baby, so I can die." He really did seem to see like he was holding on until the baby came.
After Sarah was born, Fletcher seemed to get a second wind and perked up. When we moved to our new house six weeks later, he galloped around the yard, and seemed to say "I think I'll stick around for a while yet." So I was very surprised when, 10 days into the move, he had a bad night. He vomited his dinner and seemed agitated. By 10pm, he lay down and seemed listless. Since he was not in distress, I left him alone. There was no more I was going to do to interfere if he was dying on his own. I stroked him, the dog I have had for literally half my life, until he seemed settled, then whispered in his ear through tears "If you need to go, you can go. I'll be ok now."
At 3am, he woke up and his heart was pounding in his chest, and his stomach felt hard. I worried about
GDV, and decided to take him to Vancouver Animal Emergency Clinic. I loaded the baby in her carseat and lifted Fletcher into the car. When we arrived, Fletcher's heart rate was a pounding 170 beats per minute, but he had perked up a bit. The doctor on the case worked him up, and suggested the same treatment plan I had thought up (always good to know someone agrees with your assessment). X-rays would tell us if it was something serious, like GDV or a tumor, in which case I knew I would euthanize him immediately, rather than attempt treatment. While we waited, I took some photos of us together.
|I call this one Not Our Last Selfie|
|Fletcher and his human sister|
Two weeks after his near death experience, I posted a video of him tearing around the yard after the two younger dogs; proof that old age is not a disease.