Yes, Virginia, there really was a Dexter
For those of you who have read Mystery Horse at Oak Lane Stable and will also read the next book, Gray Horse at Oak Lane Stable, you are aware that the main character, Cassie, has a black and white cat she absolutely adores, named Dexter. He is a character based on an actual cat.
Dexter was my husband's and my cat for over 8 years. We adopted him from the Washington County Humane Society when he was 11-years-old in August, 1999. I remember going to look at cats, since we had just lost one of the two cats I had brought home with me when I worked for the Country Veterinary Clinic and had for 11 years. We wanted to give our other old cat a new friend and also try to fill the hole from the loss of our other one. As we walked inside the building, one cat made it very clear he wanted our attention. I heard him banging on his metal cage door as we walked into his designated room. He made so much noise I had to see who was creating it. When I walked up to the last cage at the end of the row, I was greeted by a large black and white cat who rubbed his big head against the bars, while squinting and acting as loving as he could. I read his name tag: Dexter. It was love at first sight.
After adopting him, I took him in for his physical at a vet clinic. The vet told me I should have adopted a kitten and not an "old" cat, since I would most likely end up with a lot of health issues. I didn't care. Older animals need homes, too. I would face whatever the future brought us with regards to his health. Fortunately, Dexter lived a healthy life until the last month or so of his 19 years. I would have missed out on such a wonderful, loving cat if I had followed the advice to take him back and get a kitten.
Dexter's favorite pastime was hunting, and I mean anything: toy mice, plastic balls with bells inside that rolled across the floor, the occasional live bat that got into our first house's basement, the rabbit fur winter hat for ice fishing I gave my husband for Christmas one year (which Dexter "killed" and then dragged out of the store bag. He ran across the living room, while I was trying to wrap the gifts, pulling out rabbit fur tufts along the way), and the occasional live Canada goose from the wild flock that nested in the pond near our townhouse, who would wander too close to our glass patio door. He loved a good chase, even though it was done inside.
I loved Dexter. In a way, I've brought him back to "life" in the horse novels I've written. By including him as the inspiration behind Cassie's cat in the books, I'm able to share, with my readers, some of his wonderful antics I grew to adore. Just look at his photo. What's not to love?