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By Lisa Wechtenhiser

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about weeping for someone I don’t even know. The someone was a guy named John Cole whose beloved cat, Tunch, was killed by his sister’s dog.

As I explained, Tunch was like the mascot of the blog (Balloon Juice) and this community of people sewn together by words on a screen was almost as saddened as if Tunch were our own. (Animal devotees, all.)

After grieving a few days (during which John didn’t much come out from under the blankets on his bed), he decided to go to the local animal rescue and see who needed him (or rather, who he needed).

John Cole SteveTurns out it’s a dude he named Steve.

“Steve continues to be just the sweetest cat with the biggest personality ever. His one flaw is his love bites are a little painful. We’ll have to work on that. This is kind of crazy, but I think he actually feels better after being neutered. His eyes look less confused and he seems more content, but that could just be that today is a week since I got him and he is maybe settling in. I really do think I got a winner. He’s so different from Tunch in so many ways, but there are so many things that are the same. I love the winking and the purring and the kneading, and how he just flops himself over and asks for tummy rubs.

But not too many, because then he has to bite me. On principle.”

Slowly John is healing and things are back to normal on the blog – random political whining interspersed with recipes, music and pet stories.

But here’s the really wonderful part

So far, over $15,000 has been raised in Tunch’s name at the local rescue!

tunch2 Isn’t that amazing?

John asked that anyone who wanted to do so make a contribution in Tunch’s name and people who probably wouldn’t have recognized John (or Tunch, for that matter) walking down the street, gave to the rescue organization.

The rescue place, just a few people doing big work, were stunned (and I think that’s putting it mildly!).

“Heard again from the MARC folks, and it looks like the close to final tally for animal rescue in Tunch’s name is around $15,200, but I know it will increase slightly because my mother and others I know mailed in checks that will take a while to show up and clear. They are just ecstatic at your generosity. What a legacy for a cat who just wanted tuna and belly rubs and to have his presence DULY NOTED every time he entered a room.”

In every tragedy, there is pain. And eventually there is light. When the time is right.

The light shows up in strangers wanting to help carry someone’s hurt for them.

It shows up in a cat named Steve who helps someone move on with their life.

It shows up in ways you don’t ever expect.

But it shows up.