Finding Heaven after Trauma - A Cat Rescue Story

by Abby Janick
(Philadelphia, PA)

Dexter - Aerial Surveillance

Dexter - Aerial Surveillance

Dexter is a two-year-old short hair cat. His first home was with a family that had a young boy. Apparently, that boy also had an anger issue, and on at least one occasion threw Dexter against the wall. Dexter incurred multiple fractures to his right rear leg, which resulted in an amputation of that leg. My sister then rescued Dexter from the Bucks County (PA) SPCA where he seemed to be rebounding miraculously.

Unfortunately, three other rescued cats already lived in the home. Those cats took advantage of Dexter’s handicap by picking on him unmercifully. Dexter’s favorite activity was sitting in the window, but they even bullied him away from there. Finally as an alternative to having to return him to the ASPCA, my sister asked me if I would take him.

I have never had a cat, but I have had dogs. Currently however I reside in a small efficiency apartment so having a larger animal would be unfair. I therefore agreed to take Dexter on a trial basis. Dexter immediately fell in love with my extra large windowsill. He especially liked the fact that he was the only other occupant of my home. In time however, I started feeling bad about the amount of time he spent sitting in the window and looking outside. I began feeling more like a jailer then a Mom.

With his handicap however, I did not feel right about letting him go outside on his own. At first, I bought a harness for him. Even after repeated trials however, he continued to resist that strange apparatus. I then bought him a collar and made him wear it for increasing periods. Once he got used to the collar, we would go outside
on a retractable leash. The first few times he would just sit there looking embarrassed. Eventually however we both came to some compromises. I had to let him go where he desired, rather then me walking him. He would however take corrective actions if subtly offered. We settled on a morning and an evening walk, which became the center points of his existence. Eventually when he would see a squirrel or bird, I would drop the leash and let him run after it. Assuming of course the animal was not near the road. In spite of his only having three legs, he is actually quite adept at chasing the squirrels. He seems to realize however that actually catching one might not be ideal. The chases have therefore turned into more of a game he and the squirrels play.

One activity to which his handicap does hinder involves his ability to climb trees. The fact that Mom keeps his claws trimmed does not help either. That does not stop him from tying however and he loves when he can find a tree with a crook within a jumpable height. He gets himself into that notch and feels so smug. His life may have had a rough beginning, but he has now found heaven on earth.

Comment from Kate
Bless you, what a wonderful story. I love a happy ending. Kate

by: Anonymous

I like this story. Well-written and you obviously love your Dexter!
Finding heaven after trauma
by: tracy

Thank you for sharing your story, you are wonderful! I have 2 cats that my husband rescued from outside and I also feed the stray and feral cats. I wish I could give them all homes. I love them all!

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Still living the life
by: Abby

Dexter is still alive and happy. Now on walks he no longer even needs a leash as he responds to verbal commands. Being older he isn't chasing the squirrels as much, but we still go for walks everyday.

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