Welcome to Archie's Rainbow Bridge Memorial Residency
Archie's Rainbow Bridge Pet Loss Memorial Residency Image
Memories of Archie
Archie came into our lives in 1999 just a few months after we lost our equally unique and beloved Orange Tabby "Derf". Archie was just the friend we needed to sooth our hearts and to our surprise and delight become a "brother in spirit" of sorts to Derf because they both lived long eventful lives of adventure, love, joy and were loved by everyone who met them.

Derf (Fred spelled backwards.) was 21 years old when we made the sad decision to say goodbye. As a 2 month old kitten, Derf wandering into a rock and roll club where I was working and was taken home by the bartender who upon seeing that I had been feeding the little guy table scraps from my customers figured I'd be likely to want to adopt him. Of course I did and Derf became mine. I was 22. I lived in CT with Derf until spring about a year later when I visited my sister in Boulder Colorado, fell in love with it there and decided to move. I didn't even fly home. The only things I wanted were my record collection and my darling Derf. My parents packed up my car. I found a student from Boulder to drive my belongings from CT to Colorado but unfortunately, my funky old Landcruiser broke down in Ogallala, Nebraska. The part was going to take a week to order, the student had to take a bus back to Boulder to be in school and poor Derf went to live with the mechanic for a week while waiting for the part to arrive. When the repair was finished, I took a bus from Colorado to Ogallala, paid for my car repair and off Derf and I went to live in Boulder, Colorado. Derf was an unstoppable wanderer. Several months later, while in Boulder, he was shot by an angry neighbor with buckshot. His right back leg was shattered. I took him to the best clinic in the area, ironically called the Gunbarrel Veterinary Clinic of all things! They did their best but recommended further surgery. I decided to fly Derf back to CT where my father would see to further look after him and he was operated on in New York. His recovery was good and because I was still in Colorado at school, he lived with my father. Derf lived on 4 acres, hunted, climbed trees, wandered off for days at a time and just when I thought he was lost, I'd hear he had come home. He was gentle yet fierce, mellow yet strong. He lived at my fathers with his best cat buddy "Porter" for many years. A few years later, I came back to CT and yet didn't have the heart to take Derf away from his best friend "Porter". Once dear Porter passed, I took Derf back to live with me permanently. By this time, I was living with Tim and his son Josh who lived in England but visited in summertime was as devoted to Derf as we were. Josh first met Derf when he was 5 and was 11 when Derf died.

Derf left us on March 27 1999 and we needed time to recover our hearts but it broke our hearts to think of Josh coming from England for a year to live with us and not having Derf there for him. We decided that it was time to open our hearts for a new little fur baby in June, as I was absentmindedly looking through the newspaper I saw a real estate ad for a home for sale. In the ad was small corner picture of a great big cat with a white bib, white front paws and an expression a little like Jimmy Cagney. The ad read.."I'M LOOKING FOR A HOME TOO!" My heart leaped on to the page and I made a call, not for the house, but for the CAT! I had had my heart set on a kitten but this guy was NO baby. Tim and I were greeted at the home of a wonderful man who had recently left corporate life to devote his time and resources to animal rescue. We went into his big lovely home and saw a plethora of kitties, most of whom he was fostering. His name was "Fred". Yes, that was odd given that dear DERF's name was Fred spelled backwards and yes, I took that as a sign from Derf that we were in the right place at the right time. Fred pointed to a huge orange cat on the other side of his living room. He called out "Archie...Archie". He ignored us completely and went on about his business. We waited, and waited and eventually his curiosity got the best of him and he came to investigate. His back legs were long and high. His proportions looked exaggerated because his markings on his back legs were white boots and his body so long and strong! Round face, creamcicle coloration but still obvious stripes. He was lighter in color than Derf and had the white markings where as Derf had no white on him but he was delicious! Fred explained how he got his name. Archie came to Fred because Archie had no foster home to go to. Someone had agreed to take him temporarily not into their home but into their work place which I believe happened to be a library. He didn't have a name at that point. However, in the building Archie had a preference to hang out in a room that was devoted to Archival Records and from that, the people named him "Archie". As an aside, on one of the last few days we knew Archie would be with us, and despite the depth of our pain at knowing we were going to have to say goodbye came a light moment when Tim looked at Archie and said with all sincerity - "Archie, I love you so much sweet boy...I've loved you since the very first time you ignored us". Despite the pain we were feeling, we both cracked up. It was the truth.

When we said we would love to adopt him, Fred hesitated briefly as he said, because he and his wife had fallen in love with him and had considered keeping him for their personal brood. We promised we'd love and cherish him for his whole life. After a few more pleasantries, we got the OK. Archie would make his home with us. Several days later when things had all checked out, we brought Archie back home. I don't remember too much about those first few days except that it was still bittersweet having a cat in the house that wasn't our Derf. As the days passed and we all got to know each other, Archie's unique personality began to emerge and we knew we had a friend for life. He was more standoffish than Derf. Derf went out to find you, Archie not so much. He was boldly independent and had his own mind -- could take or leave you. He bonded with Tim first. I got jealous, then he'd surprise me with a nibble or a lick and a purr and I knew he liked me too. But, if he didn't want you near, watch out. He'd swat and hiss until you got the message. He'd summon you if he wanted you but you had to take him on his terms! By the time Josh arrived for his visit in July, Archie had made his mark in our hearts, our home our neighborhood.

Always having had outdoor cats, we allowed Archie out after keeping him indoors for 3 weeks so he would remember where home was. I was never so nervous when letting him out for the first time and with good reason. He was a wanderer, adventurer, gladiator! Like Derf, he'd take off and be gone but where as Derf would be gone for days, Archie never more than an overnight here and there. I had my special call for him and he'd usually...emphasis on "usually" come trotting back. I'll never forget the joy I had the first time he came back after being out for a long stretch. I knew he KNEW where home was.

That summer, Josh was besotted with Archie and our little family was united. And, so it went for that year.. and beyond.

Archie was an "only cat" until about 2005 when one day, I visited a shelter and fell in love with a beautiful solid white kitty. We adopted her and called her Lily. Archie was not happy, but he adjusted. Then, in 2006 along came a solid black kitty we named Stella and lastly, in 2008 came a mischievous special needs kitty we named Chance. These three were strictly indoor cats and they had their own unique bonds but Archie..warrior and the Prince of the Prowl kept his watch and began to adopt people in the neighborhood in his rounds. I will say that with each successive adoption he wanted to spend more and more time outside and his adventures began! He had a thing for losing his collars. He must have lost a dozen collars over the years and people would find them and drop them in our mailbox. Archie, camped out on peoples stoops, visited families blocks away, sunned on porches for as many as 5 blocks away. He was street savvy. We never worried about his ability to dodge cars even though we live in a quiet neighborhood. He was a nomad and preferred to roam his Kingdom, survey his domain, visit his subjects. I'd go on a walk and see him 6 blocks away just lounging on someone's porch. He'd see me and run to me and walk the rest of my walk with me. He had fans, a following - he was a ROCK STAR! As the expression goes, "Dogs have owners, Cats have Staff". This describes Archie to a T!

Once in a while I'd get a call from a family down the street..."Archie is here playing with my girls, is it OK if we feed him?"... Or ..." I found your kitty Archie is he missing". "No", I'd say, "he's just making his rounds". I'd always go pick him up but a few days later, I'd get the same call.

Then, in 2010, Archie began disappearing for longer stretches. I tried not to worry. I wondered whether he had finally had enough of his siblings and decided to make a home elsewhere. He would stop running to me when I'd call him. He wasn't with in earshot I suspected. But then, again, I knew he could be full of hijinks..he'd sit quietly under a thick shrub in our yard while I called and called. I'd be crying and worried and he'd just let me suffer! You just never knew with him. Alas, one night I got a phone call at midnight from a neighbor two streets away that said he had Archie in his house. He had come by and triggered his exterior lights and woken up the owner of the house by walking back and forth in front of the light trigger! Archie got the boot and then came home.

That year, at Christmastime, we received a Christmas card addressed to Archie from "Mittens, Smokey and Princess". We were touched and amused at this sweet gesture but had no idea who the people were although there was a return address..and because our address was on Archie's collar the other party knew where we were.

Archie continued in his travels. He was so popular that I began to nickname him "The Mayor" of Leonard Place. Only later did I come to find that he traveled far and wide and really was The Mayor of many local streets. He was staying out longer and on cold nights I'd be particularly panicked and drive the streets with my window down even if it was 3:00 am. I'd hollar out the window.. "Archie, AAAARCHIE Kit Kit Kit.." One night I came across a man who obviously had trouble getting to sleep because he was standing at the end of his driveway on a frigid early winter night smoking a cigarette. He looked harmless and I explained to him that I was looking for my big orange cat. He said "do you mean the Archie? Yep, he was over at my house playing with my kids earlier today." I just smiled and laughed because it was true, everyone knew Archie. And I knew he was probably just fine.

So, then, at Christmastime that year, I send a Christmas card to Mittens, Smokey and Princess from Archie. I got a call at some point in that time and the gentleman on the other end of the phone introduced himself as Lou. LOU had a story to tell me that was so profoundly moving, so bittersweet.

Lou had lost a beloved fur baby by the name of Lady. Lady was only in his life for 6 weeks as he adopted this poor girl on deaths door, a stray and a little angel who had never received or known love and warmth. Lou devoted 6 weeks and un-tolled resources to her care and recovery. He loved Lady like no other and to make a long story short, tragically she died of complications from a seizure while making her recovery from the ravages of her former life as a stray. Lou was devastated. His heart torn apart further by a clerical mistake with her autopsy and Lady was not returned to him for burial or cremation. He grieved and felt he had failed his darlin' Lady. Nothing could be further from the truth, because in the end, Lou had given this dear girl 6 weeks of love, nurture, devotion that she never would have had. We all wish it could have been more but alas..it wasn't to be.

Lou explained that shortly after Lady died, his outside lights began to be tripped at night by an animal. He was intrigued to see a huge orange cat in his yard who would sit out side his basement window wells, his mouth meowing silently until the screen door was opened and demanding his attention. No surprise, who this was! Lou's connection with Archie was instant and he explained that he felt Lady had sent Archie to help him heal his broken heart. And so began the greatest of friendships between man and cat and then extended to Tim's and my life.

Archie began to devote his time pretty much exclusively between our house and Lou's. Lou because "Uncle Lou" to us and to Archie. Archie would ask to go out every day and every day he's make his way, rain, shine and even in a couple feet of snow over to Lou's. During the heavy snows we had in 2011 Lou always used the snow blower to clear a path for Archie who marched over there daily for his Uncle Lou fix. Lou would feed, brush, indulge, photograph and adore Archie until about 6 pm when Archie would ask to be let out. But Lou, bless his heart, wouldn't let Archie out, instead he'd call us to see if we were home and then Uncle Lou would drive Archie over the couple of blocks to our house riding shotgun between the two front seats with his front paws on the center of the dashboard and his rear legs perched on the console peering out on to the road. The kids in the neighborhood used to wave at Lou with Archie in his Chariot! There are dozens of Archie and Lou stories to tell but the one most important story is of their love which played it self out quietly and genuinely every day. Their bond was indeed, very special.

Archie began to slow down in spring of 2011 and he showed signs of weight loss, vomiting and Lou was never further than a phone call away. We all decided that it was time to keep Archie indoors for good as he was getting on in age. We treated him for stomach issues and after one crisis, he got better. Lou came a couple day a week for visits, always arrived with treats for him and for our other three always devoting himself to his beloved BOY! Lou babysat our cats for 2 weeks that year but not like you think. Lou came 3 times a day to feed, visit, play, photograph our cats. He even read books to our fur babies! He babysat our brood again this past summer for 3 weeks total and checked in on my Mom who was living in our house while we were gone. To say Lou is part of the family is an understatement and at the center of it all was Archie.

By late summer 2012 Archie was losing weight more rapidly and it slowly became clear that something was quite wrong. On the day Hurricane Sandy hit our worst fears were realized..he was diagnosed with stomach cancer. Brave Lou had been the one to take him to the vet for fluids but returned having made had additional tests. And so, in the week of recovery from the aftermath of the storm, we kept round the clock vigil to keep him comfortable. Lou, Tim and I nurtured and loved Archie with every molecule of our bodies and hearts. We made numerous trips as a threesome over to the vet, we took turns encouraging him to eat, Lou prepared dozens of tempting meal choices and spared no expense in time or money to give him anything he wanted. We read volumes of internet articles about his condition, but we mostly just were there for him when he needed love. We all waited for his baritone purr deep round warm tones like you'd imagine a mountain lion would make. He'd oblige us one at a time with a gentle head butt, a lick on the arm, an extended paw over your hand or just that soulful look into our eyes that told us he knew we loved him and that he loved us. We were all there with Archie took his last breath and we were all there when we picked up his ashes two days ago. We will be there for each other at anniversaries and had holidays and every day, just to remember how lucky we were to have known Archie. And how lucky we were to have had Archie bring us all together.

Archie was more a "force" than a kitty. He was LOVE on four legs and he helped heal Lou, he helped heal Tim and me and he was loved by everyone who met him. We will miss his presence everywhere but know he is watching. In fact, the other day, when Tim was driving his car down the highway, he was crying, sad, feeling lost so he rolled open the window of his car and cried out the window, "ARCHIE -- WHERE ARE YOU, I MISS YOU SO MUCH..". He wiped his tears and hoped for, but didn't expect a sign yet, moments later he looked ahead at the car in front of him. The license plate said one word. "MEOW". That's our BOY! And that's a symbolic sign of the mystery of how strong love is and what miracles love can do.




December 26, 2013 - Dearest Archie. My heart is full today with thoughts of you and all the joy you brought to our lives. Today, this day after Christmas is a quiet one and one in which I can feel you near. Thank you my precious Boy for all you brought to all who love you. We miss you our little Angel. Merry Christmas! xxoxoxoxo Mommy, Poppy and Uncle Lou

NOV 6 2016 4 Years today Archie you left for Rainbow Bridges, Your Mom Kathy, Your Dad Tim, and I Uncle Lou Miss you so much, you gave so much LOVE to all of us, Some day we will join you at the bridge, will you wait to greet us and we will all be together again..Love you. Mommy, Daddy, uncle Lou

9/15/18 Wow Archie, it's been a while since i posted a message to you.. again the Rose bush where you sat and sunned yourself is blooming with Glory, the ground you sat on is full of richness just like you, you touched My Heart when i needed comfort, Our time together was agift from above to help me, Always in my Heart and on my mind, Love you always, till we meet again...Uncle Lou xxxxxoooo

11/12/18 Always om my mind and always will be in my Heart, Till we meet again, Miss U Uncle Lou xx

2-9-19 My Boy, miss you, visited all my furbabies today, always in my heart, always on my mind, some day, soon I hope, I will be with all of you Love Uncle lou

3/12/2019 Looked outside today, there are 2 neighborhood kitties waiting to be feed, One of them looks just like you, Great and sorrowful memories, Miss u, Uncle Lou xx

So sorry Archie, missed last month,,, Miss U Uncle Lou xx

6//2019 Quick visit, to make up for the ones I missed, out in this misty rainy day, Rose bush is Beautiful, picture you there sunning your self, Miss you, Luv uncle Lou

7/12/2019 Miss You....Uncle Lou
8/13/2019 Holding U in My Heart....xx uncle Lou
9/12/2019 Thank You for sending Tabby to vist, he was missing for a year showed up today, with that quiet Meow, Feed him, Looks a lot like you.....Miss ya xx
10/12/2019 Tabby is here, so are 2 other kitties, Miss you....xx
11/12/2019 My Boy, Our Boy, 7 years ago you left us, Memories, Memories, so many, In our Heart s forever..
12/22/19 In my heart, always on my Mind.....Miss you...xxxx.
1/12/20 Another year, still on my mind, in my heart, miss u so much xx Uncle lou
1/14/21 Here it is a Year later since i posted on your site, still feel the Heart Aches, lots of memories, lots of Happiness you gave me....Missing you xx
2/12/21 Always in my Heart, Memories xxx
4/15/2021 Your Rose bush is starting to bloom, I picture you there resting...Time goes by so fast, Not fast enough for me, till we are ALL together, Love Ya, Miss u xx
5/12/2021 Missing U xxoo

5/21/2021 Archie, watch for my "KITTY" the one you fought with, He passed , please welcome him. I Miss you my Handsome Boy... Love ya xxxxx
9/3/21 Days go by, but your always with me...xx
9/13/21 Visited Chance, He will be with u soon, Your Mommy and Daddy are comforting Him...Heart aches again, Tears,,,, MIss all of you xxx Uncle Lou
10/12/21 Thoughts of you and Chance, Miss u xxx
12/12/21 Merry Christmas Friend, and all my fur babies with you, Many thoughts of Our Time together...Miss U xx
1/12/2022 Each day we get closer to being together, All of Us, all my Furbabies xxoo
3/26/2022 Today, is Another HEART Breaking day for the Family, Stella will be leaving us to join Archie and CHance and all our furbabies , God Bless, give us strength to weather your loss to us. Love ,from ALL of Your Family xxxxx
4/12/2022 My Loved Archie, Sparkey joined you yesterday, Now you are all together, Love all, xxxx
5/12/22 My Archie, My heart is so Hurting, I look at all of You furbaies on my mantel, The years of missing and saying my last good bye to u all. I want it to stop, I want to be with all of You...Loving and keeping you and
all my Babies in my Heart Love xxx
8/10/22 I have a daily visitor, I named Him "Pops" He is a older surviving Tabby, Very loving, very protective of his Little young 'Kitty" that follows him..Both love having attention, they have spending there days here since last year, out on the bench and Koobodle house in the back yard, as always, I love all my Firbabies, I believe that You and all the Furbabies sent them to help me.....Love and Miss you and all my past Furbabies xxxx
10/13/22 My Archie, And all my Furbabies, Its gettng harder each day as i'm getting older, Your always in my Heart, My thoughts, and Now Pops acts so much like you, sometimes I call him Archie, and he responds with a Loud MEOW..Miss you xxx
11/07/22 Miss you Pops sure is Meowing today, I remember your silent Meows in the window sill, Memories of you, and Pain and Missing you..xx
12/12/22 Missing you......Uncle Lou xx
1/12/23 Thinking of you, and all my Fur babies that joined you, LOVE and Miss everyone xx
2/11/23 Early this time, Looking at Pops that I rescued, Hugging me , just like you did, fell all your love thru Pops. And all those who are with you, Chance and all those i had the time to be with Love all of You xxx
3/11/2023 My BOY, every time i look at POPS, I see you. Large, Handsome and loving Miss and Love you foreverxx
4/12/23 Beautiful day. only You ARCHIE could have made it Better Miss U xx
5/14/23 My Archie, Rose bush is growing were you once sat and took in the Sun Uncle lou xx
6/12/23 No words can tell you how much i miss you, i love you. and all the comfort and love you gave me xxx
8/4/23 Miss u, 2 new fur babies coming around, Black Kitty, and a Brown and white. Feeding them every day...
8/12/23 I REMEMBERED, as my POPS lay in front of me I picture you at Mommys House while watching you and and your brothers and sisters, Great days, lots of memories Miss everybody X
9/11/23 Surprise! I remembered, Miss you Handsome, you brought so much in my life and so much love in my Heart xxx
10/12/23 Love ya, miss you xx
11/5/2023 My Boy, 11 years tomorrow, it feels like the day Mommy, Daddy and Uncle Lou said our goodbye's as you left for Rainbow Garden.....ALWAYS IN OUR HEART, ALWAYS ON OUR MINDS. WE Love and Miss you xxxooo
12/7/23 Yes, I'm early for a change, your visit last nite was beautiful, miss you xxxx
1/12/24 Another New Year, another year missing u, Hope that the Lord will give me peace, and I can Join you and all my Fur babies Always, Uncle Lou xx
4/6/24 My boy, sorry i missed the visit, Uncle Lou was sick, i will get back on our scheduled together Miss U xxx
5/22/24 Spring is here, your Rose Bush bloomed, Your Love is always present, 12 years, but it seems just like yesterday, Miss You Uncle Lou xx
6/12/24 Good morning, Archie, 2.30 am, trouble sleeping, but remembering its 12th of the month, feeling that Love for you, good times we had, memories are always there, Love in my Heart still grows for you, Miss holding you. Love Uncle Lou xx

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