Crossing Guard Lost His Beloved Cat, So The Community Stepped Up To Surprise Him With A Kitten

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Chuck Nehls is very well-known and well-loved in the Highland Park community of Saint Paul, Minnesota.

And he loves his community just as much. That is why he spends time weeding, painting, shoveling, picking up trash, and doing his best to keep the neighborhood clean and beautiful. He also helps students safely cross the street.

And the best part? He does it all without pay!

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press

Nehls was often seen with his beloved orange cat, Ashley, on his shoulders. The two of them were the best of friends and Nehls loved having her in his life.

Sadly, Ashley grew ill and passed away in April at the old age of 17. Nehls was absolutely devastated at the loss of his furry best friend. She was a huge part of his life, and now a part of his heart has gone with her.

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press

Nehls thought about getting a new kitten to help fill that void, but he knew he couldn’t afford it. Although adoption fees at many shelters are very cheap, Nehls knew he would need money for food, toys and vet visits.

When Highland Park residents heard about Ashley’s death, they wanted to do something special for Nehls, since he has always helped them all out so much. Highland Park resident Martha Wegner decided to set up a GoFundMe page, where she was raising money for a new kitten for Nehls.

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press

Jean Pieri / Pioneer Press

Thus far, they have raised more than $2800!

They were able to get Nehls an adorable little kitten named Heidi, along with bags of food and litter. The rest of the money raised will go into an account at Highland Animal Hospital for any future vet visits and procedures.

Although Ashley is irreplaceable, Heidi will definitely help mend Nehls’ heart. Nehls said Heidi is very tender loving and kind. She will certainly be the best therapy. These two will be the best of friends in no time, and I’m sure it won’t take long before Heidi is hanging out on Nehls’ shoulders around the community just like Ashley was.

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Growing up, Ashley always had a passion for writing. After receiving her Bachelor's in Journalism from Stony Brook University, she now uses that passion to write about the thing she loves most in this world: animals! When she isn't writing, you can find her curled up on the couch with a kindle in her hands and her Guinea Pigs on her lap.