By Liz, thrilled beyond measure that we didn’t bear the brunt of the killer snowstorm over the weekend!
I had a totally different blog post started for today—all about killing off real people as thinly disguised characters in novels—but I changed my mind. (Don’t worry, more on that another time. I have lots to say on the topic.)
I changed my mind because something happened recently that deserves attention.
It’s been a season of loss for so many people, myself included. From personal losses to losses that touch millions of people (David Bowie, Glenn Frey, who can relate?). Today, I wanted to pay tribute to another man who was recently lost—a man named Fred.
Fred lived in Boston. I didn’t actually know Fred – we never even met – but I know some of his friends and heard about his incredible story last year after he became ill. That story compelled me to mention Fred in my latest book, in my rescue shout-out section. While Fred had many human friends, what made him special was his friendship with another species – cats.
For about thirty years, he took care of hundreds – maybe thousands – of stray, abandoned and feral cats on the Boston streets. This meant giving every extra cent of his social security, which he lived off of, to the cats for food, shelter and whatever else they needed to be comfortable. It meant getting up in the middle of the night to do his feeding rounds. It meant living with extreme heartache daily, watching the plight of these cats and knowing that, no matter how much he did, they were destined to a hard life living outside in extreme heat and cold, facing traffic and wildlife and people who wished them harm.
Since becoming ill, Fred’s friends and friends of the other feral feeders have rallied to cover his feeding stations. When Fred passed away earlier this month, humans and cats alike mourned his loss. And now many of those humans are working at filling some big shoes.
I wish I could tell you more about Fred, some of the little nuances that people always share when someone special leaves their life. But really, the most important thing about Fred that we all can remember is his compassionate heart. Fred loved cats, and spent his life taking care of them. I think that’s all you need to know.
Anyone interested in Boston’s Forgotten Felines, the organization Fred worked with, should check out their Facebook page.
And if you’re so inclined, pay it forward in memory of a man who lived his life putting others before himself.
Readers, do you have a hero who inspires you?