November 16, 2010

Dexter

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

Dexter

Dexter

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.