Little Dogs, Big Hearts

Michael and Dude

Michael Fletcher didn’t grow up with pets, but he quickly became a dog person when he met his wife, Susan Gayle, and joined her household of four Pekingese.

“It’s been quite an adventure,” Michael admits. “When the dogs start making friends with you, you can’t help but reciprocate that back to them. I had never realized what it would be like to have such a relationship with a pet and that they could be such important family members. They automatically love you if you treat them right, and they want to do everything to make you happy.”

Here at IDEXX, we believe that pets are part of the family and we work relentlessly every day to help our customers better the lives of our four-legged companions. Michael Fletcher is no exception. He is a senior engineer in the IDEXX Research and Development department and has been part of the IDEXX family for 14 years.

“As a member of the systems and reliability group in R&D, we use the in-house diagnostic instruments and software in the same ways that customers will,” he says. “It’s our job to ensure that our products exceed the expectations of our customers once they’re placed in a veterinary hospital.”

When he’s not at work, Michael shares his free time with his close friend Dude, and his and Susan’s other furry family members, Josie, Lily, Trixie, Frankie, Autumn and Mr. Bumblechort (all but two are Pekingese) as well as any other foster dogs (currently Sunshine) that might be passing through as they wait for new homes.

Michaels’ wife, Susan, started her rescue, Little Paws, Big Hearts Peke Rescue, in 2011 and has already matched more than 80 Pekingese with new families. The rescue is funded by donations made at pet rescue events and the sale of Susan’s homemade bandannas. Adoptive families pay only veterinary fees.

“It’s very much a one-on-one thing,” Michael says about the adoption placement process. “We’re not trying to go for volume. We place one or two dogs at a time and make sure we find the right match.”

“There’s always that feeling of satisfaction when everything works out and in knowing that there are homes out there for all these dogs. It’s a great feeling to see the interaction between a dog and its new family. And it’s wonderful to see that a lot of families are prepared to take in a dog that’s 10 years old and has medical issues, even though these families may have only a few special years with their rescue.”

 Meet Michael and his friend Dude 
Meet Michael and his friend Dude

When the dogs start making friends with you, you can’t help but reciprocate that back to them.

Michael Fletcher, Senior Engineer, Research and Development, IDEXX Laboratories