Bravery on the Streets: RIP Dexter

This is Dexter, but it is just one of many names he has been called. He lived his life on the streets of Phoenix for many years. He evaded every trap that kind people set for him—and who knows how many that bad people set. He was covered with scars and his ears were all screwed up, but he was still gorgeous when you looked into his soulful eyes. When he knew the end was near he sought out my friend who had given him food and soft words, asking to end his days with her. She gave him a home for the past couple of weeks while he peacefully faded away in a quiet place. She was with him, petting and consoling him, when he passed away on Saturday. Dexter was a strong cat, a brave cat. He lived life on his own terms and died that same way. RIP to a cat I will never forget.


Dexter was very sick in these photos. I couldn’t let him pass away without sharing his story because courage isn’t an attribute special to humans (when you can find it) or to dogs. Cats and other animals also can be very brave and strong, facing up to the unfairnesses thrown at them in life. I wanted us to appreciate the strength this boy had to live his life the way he lived it. And the courage he found not just to battle for that life every day on the streets, but the courage to come to my friend when he finally felt he needed her. Bless her for noticing that he needed help beyond the usual.

Dexter lived in my friend’s neighborhood and was at least 12 years old, possibly as old as 15. He was a stray, not truly feral (I’ve written before that a lot of cats are classified as feral who truly are strays–and Dexter would have been seen as feral by some, but he really was not). He trusted my friend and some others enough to get close so they could feed him and even pet him. He lived in an area where coyotes hunt cats. My friend says he “owned” her neighborhood and now he is buried there.

Dexter is not confined to the cage you see. The door was open so he could move into the room. In case you wonder, my friend is very experienced and knows quite a lot about medical and behavioral issues with cats. She decided that he would be completely freaked out by euthanasia by a vet, although she held it in her mind as an option if he didn’t pass peacefully.

So please grieve for Dexter, but also celebrate his bravery and his strength and when you have a chance to help someone, please take the opportunity. If you don’t know about the good work of Alley Cat Allies please check them out.

I can’t leave you without showing you some happy cat rescues that I have recorded with my new iPhone.

Kana, my Home Fur Good rescue princess, is in the stage light mono portrait mode.

Felix is, um, I can’t remember which portrait mode. Felix was rescued from the streets.

Perry is in stage light portrait mode. As you know, he was also rescued from the streets a la our backyard.



Filed under #amrevising, #AmWriting, #writerslife, Arizona, Cats and Other Animals, Inspiration, Nonfiction, Writing

57 responses to “Bravery on the Streets: RIP Dexter

  1. Don’t tell my brother, Salem, but this made me cry. I said a prayer for Dexter. And God bless your friend.

  2. Hugs for you, your friend and Dexter.

  3. RIP Dexter. Thank God for kind people. Love the pics of your kitties too. So beautiful.

  4. ❤️❤️ RIP Dexter.

  5. RIP Dexter. How wonderful that he knew of a place to go and die in peace. What a good friend you have, and what a comfort she must have been to Dexter. Thanks for the beautiful portraits of your kitties, and thank you for sharing Dexter’s story. <3

  6. RIP, Dexter. A lovely tribute. I’m happy for him that he died peacefully. My Ricky Cat is watching me type, waiting to sneak onto my lap. Like you, I suspect, probably the majority of my iPhone photos are of my cats. 🙂 But yours are lovely.

  7. Luanne, thank you so much for sharing the moving story of the very brave Dexter and your very kind friend. Of course, I am teary and touched by them this morning. RIP Dexter. You deserve peace if anyone does.
    And I love the photos of your cats – gosh they are so beautiful and you and the gardener have given them wonderful homes. Bless your hearts.

  8. Bless you and your friend Luanne – and Dexter! <3

    • Oh, thank you, Pauline. We are all worrying so much about people and animals in your neck of the woods. Has the smoke from Australian fires reached you? I heard from someone else that the fires had.

      • Our weather in my part of the country has been so bad it is being referred to a ‘Fimbulwinter’. On the one day that should have given a taste of summer the air was smokey and an eerie yellow haze concealed the blue sky and warm sun – that was the Australian fire fallout reaching us. Further north, where the season is more – well, seasonal, there is often haze and smoke fallout. We watch our friends and neighbours and their pets and wild animals across the ditch and do what we can to aid in our own ways. It’s awful! I don’t know anyone who is enjoying this summer!

  9. This is so sad, Luanne! But it makes me thankful there are people like you out there who help wherever you can. Thanks for all you do!

    • Well, not me for this one, but more and more I am seeing this whole “underground” of people helping animals. Some through organizations, some on their own, and some sort of a cobbled network. I try to remember them when I hear of horrific cruelties or even the mundane cruelties such as “I need to return this dog I rescued seven years ago because I’m moving and my new apartment won’t allow such a large dog.”

  10. I have always loved cats. We have had five and each has a special place in our hearts. They all lived 15 years and beyond and it was tough to have to let them go. Three were strays and two true ferals. Thanks for telling Dexter’s story, Luanne. I’ll just put him next to Frankie (our last) in my heart.

  11. RIP Dexter, yes. He lived life his own way. Asked for help when it was essential. Good lessons.

  12. HUGE kudos to your friend, AND to you, for your beautiful rescue work. xoxox

  13. RIP Dexter.

  14. You are such a great animal advocate. Thank you! Bless everyone who does a kindness for those who can’t repay, except of course through unconditional love.

    • I can’t imagine how it’s a kindness to do something that can be repaid, really. Seems to negate the whole concept. Thank you so much, Cheryl.

  15. I’m sure Dexter is resting in peace thanks to your friend. Cats know who to trust. My blogging friend and Pauline’s at Gardening Nirvana also rescues cats and creatures as they come to her. The world really does have good people. Your portraits of your fur family are stunning!! That’s quite the gift. I very much understand the difference between a stray and a feral cat. Very different. Thanks for introducing us to Dexter and giving him a nice send off in the hearts of all of us.

    • Marlene, it’s so true. There are good people. I just wish there weren’t so many bad ones!!! Thank you re the portraits :). I do love taking cat “headshots.” I just love capturing their expressions, their eyes, their whiskers, all that! Thank you for participating in the tribute to Dexter!!! xoxo

  16. Poor dear Dexter. So impressed with his personality and courage.

  17. I teared up at that, not with grief, but with gladness that his last days were spent with love and safety and care <3
    We tried to rescue an abandoned kitten once and she didn't make it. Sassy was so torn up about it, truly it was traumatic to her — but I just kept telling her that baby got to spend her last days surrounded by the love of six of us — in blankets, held almost every minute, hand-fed, absolutely surrounded by love. Had we not taken her, the vet said she would have died in the rainstorm the previous night. Just the thought of that pains me. Lola. Her name was Lola and she was too sick to be saved by our love, but damn, we tried.

    • Thank you re Dexter, Joey. Oh, I’m so sorry about Lola. I’m glad she had love in her life. How hard for you all, though, especially Sassy. Sweet Lola, thanks for mentioning her.

  18. Peace, sweet Dexter Thanks for your lessons on bravery.

  19. Aww sweet Dexter…

  20. Bless the little one! I am glad he was able to spend his last days in peace, love and safety.

  21. A touching post, Luanne and beautiful photos of the happy cat rescues.<3

  22. You are kind to think to add the photos of your beautiful cats to this touching tribute to Dexter.

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