November 16, 2010


Posted in Children, Family, Pets tagged , , , , , , , at 7:59 am by Liliana



When my kids were little, we got a cat. Nena (two years old at the time) chose him from all the other cats at the Humane Society. His name was Dexter.

Jeff loved the name because it reminded him of Dexter Gordon. The rest of us liked the name because it seemed to fit him perfectly.

Dexter was a large, muscular tomcat with a serious face, sweet disposition and a sly sense of humor. He loved the kids, showed  them limitless patience, followed them to school. A fierce and fearless hunter Dexter spent his nights prowling outside and was the king of our neighborhood.

Ten years passed. Dexter got older, but his interests stayed the same. The kids grew, their interests changed, but they and their friends still spent a lot of time in our basement. Dexter, considering himself one of the guys, hung out with them.

One Saturday morning, Mike told me that he was worried about Dexter. Our cat seemed listless and tired, and didn’t care to go outside at night. I went to the basement to check. Dexter looked at me sadly, hardly able to lift his head. I called the vet. They told me to bring him in.

The vet checked Dexter out and told me that his heart was diseased, and he didn’t have much to live. They recommended putting him to sleep that very day.

Everyone was busy that Saturday morning, with soccer, ballet lessons, part time jobs. But I knew that we had to say good bye to Dexter.

Jeff had taken Nena to her ballet lesson. I called him and explained the situation. He said that he and Nena would stop at home, pick up my mom and Sam, and come with everyone to the vet’s office. Mike was working at a bagel store in the neighborhood. I called him and he said he would come in a few minutes. I called my sister Branka. She said she’d come over with Nicole right away. She called Joe who had taken Sasha to a soccer game. They all came.

I don’t think the people at the vet’s office had ever seen anything like it.

Here we were, an extended family, sitting around our cat, caressing him and crying. Everyone was crying. Dexter knew that he didn’t have long to live. He calmly lay in the middle of our family circle, licking hands with the bit of energy that he could still muster.

We stayed for a long time and then we left.

The next day, a beautiful bouquet of flowers was delivered to our house. It was from the vet.



  1. Dave Harrison said,

    I’m sorry for your families loss of a great pet & family member. You did the right thing for sure. I remember the day Janice & I took our beloved Chance [dog] and had to have him put down. The vet let us stay in the room while the injections where administered and Chance went away peacefully it was almost as he appreciated not being in pain anymore. We took him home and at midnight that night I dug a big hole in the front yard where his run was and we buried him where he lived when not in the house. We put the big rock he used to sit on over his grave site as a reminder of where and who he was. It was a tragic day in our household that I will never forget. It truely makes me wonder why we let folks that can’t be helped medically suffer for years rather than giving them the decent choice to die with dignity and end their suffering. I guess I’ll never know what is correct in that matter but I hope that I never have to lay there while people do all my personal cleaning & feeding to me rather than doing it myself. So I’ll quit my rambling and go on with my day. Thanks for sharing these memories for the day it’s good to think of Chance on occasion as they’re always good thoughts of fun days.

    • Liliana said,

      I hear you, I hear you.
      I wonder about those issues myself. There are no easy answers, but it’s good to talk about them. And to remember.

  2. Jelena said,

    Dexter was a very cool cat. I remember him fondly.

    • Liliana said,

      You are right – the adjective that describes Dexter best is “cool.”
      I hope your week is going well.

  3. Nicole said,

    This is a really good post Teta Yia! I love it!

    • Liliana said,

      I hope you are feeling better. Love and hugs to you.

  4. pmdello said,

    Hi Liliana;

    What a wonderful story. I’ve passed it along to a friend in Italy who shares with me a love for cats.


    • Liliana said,

      Thanks, John. I hope that all is well with you. Best to you and yours, Liliana

  5. pmdello said,

    BTW, Dexter is now on Facebook.

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