Almost nine years ago, the sweetest, most loving, most cuddly, most adorable puppy came into my world. My husband wanted to name him Fletch, after one of his favorite movies. I agreed, mostly because I figured if he named the dog, then surely I would have naming rights when we had kids : ) Fletch was 16 lbs at 8 weeks, and his paws looked like big ol’ baseball mitts!
We knew we were in for a big beast of a dog, but he melted our hearts and became part of our family immediately.
He was our first baby. Our trial run to see how we’d do as parents. He was pretty spoiled and had our undivided attention for over two years, before our first daughter was born. I would take him on playdates to our local dog park. If I had errands to run, he’d join me as he loved going for rides. If we had to head out of town for the day on business, he’d go to doggie day care. He was as much a part of this family as I am.
He loved going for walks, going to the beach, chasing bubbles, meeting other furry 4-legged friends, as well as 2-legged humans. He was a gentle giant, a sweet soul, a huge yellow lab that thought he was a lap dog. I would lovingly call him my teacup lab.
As big as he was, he really did think he was a lap dog, my teacup lab. Case in point:
Once our girls were born, he didn’t get as much attention, but he was still our boy, still part of the pack, still our steadfast companion. When we brought each of our girls home from the hospital, he was completely intrigued by the bundles that arrived. With our first born in particular, they shared a special bond. From day one, he loved her and she loved him.
He even took up residence on her giant teddy bear, a gift from my sister-in-law’s family, the D’Agostino’s, whenever we were in her room.
Over the years, he was her buddy. He’d join her playing dress up. He’d join her at tea parties. He’d join her for a cuddle, anytime.
She would call him Clifford, the big yellow dog.
Or he would be her Baloo to her Mowgli.
As long as we were all together, they were both happy campers.
When we knew he was sick, our eldest would get her doctor kit and play veterinarian with him.
And if there was a possibility of getting a snack, he definitely wanted to be around!
We’d call him our Fletch, Fletchie, Fletchers, pooches, beast, Fletchie-Bear, Baloo, Clifford, Snoopy, Dug, big boy, baby boy, love bug, waggle-flaggle and other terms of endearment. Many times, I’d refer to him as the teenage son I didn’t have… my Fletchie was usually the last one out of bed. Yes, there were times the girls and I would be leaving for school and I’d have to run back in the house realizing he was still snoozing. Pooches defined “lazy dog” and the girls loved helping him be cozy with their blankies.
We knew he’d be good with kids, but we had no idea he’d end up being an incredible friend to our girls.
So my heart is broken — my pooch left us earlier this week to go on to heaven. That big red growth on his lip… it’s the ugliness of cancer, and the cancer was spreading throughout his body, resulting in muscle loss. It was becoming increasingly challenging for him. Somedays were better than others. Somedays his legs didn’t want to function. Somedays his tumor wouldn’t stop bleeding. Everyday we loved him and we forever will. Fletch will always have a special place in our hearts. He’s the best pooch we could have ever wanted. We miss you pooches, you’ll always be in our hearts and minds, and you will always be our sweet little prince, Fletchie Bear. We’ll see you in Heaven…