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600 cats: Western Massachusetts resident wins award for most pets fostered

Dakin Humane Society volunteer Jerry Marchand with a cat.
Danielle Cookish / Dakin Humane Society
Dakin Humane Society volunteer Jerry Marchand with a cat.

A western Massachusetts resident has received an award from the Dakin Humane Society after fostering 600 cats.

Jerry Marchand set a record at Dakin for the most pets fostered, the organization said. He volunteers there and also brings cats into his home to get them ready to be adopted.

"I do sick kittens, moms with babies, adults with behavioral issues," he said. "I give medications. I do behavioral training."

Marchand lives with his wife in Westhampton and is retired. He used to work as a technician in the geology and astronomy departments at Mount Holyoke College.

Marchand said he decided to start fostering when a special cat he owned named Little Bit passed away in 2010.

"She died in my arms," he said, beginning to cry. "I promised her [that] because of her, cats and kittens will have a chance to live and find forever-homes."

In a statement posted to Dakin's website, Foster Care Coordinator Megan Tolpa said it's "hard to believe how many lives Jerry has touched.”

"And it’s all in memory of Little Bit," Tolpa said. "He made her a promise and man, has he kept it! What an amazing legacy he has given her.”

Marchand is now fostering four kittens he expects will be ready for adoption in a week or two. Then he'll be ready for more.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.