|Birth: ||Oct. 4, 1994|
|Death: ||May 14, 2009|
"To forget you is to forget life." – First line of verse on front of Autumn's sympathy card from Dr Steve, our veterinarian
October 2, 2004 I received a frantic phone call from the dog rescuer, Sherri, from whom we adopted our beloved Princess and Penny. She said she had a sad cat story to tell and needed my assistance. I knew then that Craig and I were going to receive a new cat into our brood.
She had seen an orange tabby wandering her neighborhood for several days. She was terrified he would be hit in the streets or a loose dog would attack him. A few days later, she grabbed a pet carrier and scooped the little fellow up. Being ill-prepared to keep a cat since she had fourteen rescue dogs in her home, she placed him in a spare bedroom until she could find his home.
She went door-to-door for a couple of days and eventually located the indifferent owner who said the cat was female, had been front-declawed (ARGH!) and spayed, was about five years old, and she "thought" she called her Pumpkin, but wasn't for sure. Sherri was stunned, to say the least, for what kind of a person is a cat owner who doesn't know his/her cat's name, especially one owned since kitten-hood? Sherri told the woman that Pumpkin was defenseless without her front claws and should stay indoors. The woman stated that when Pumpkin wanted out she "felt" like she should oblige.
So Sherri point-blank asked her if she wanted Pumpkin, for she had found her on the streets and could find her a good home. Not surprisingly, the woman said that Pumpkin was more trouble than she was worth and that if Sherri wanted her, she was hers. Sherri immediately took the cat to the veterinarian who had treated both Prin and Penny after they were rescued from horrific lives.
After finding out that the little girl was riddled with fleas and internal parasites, she left her with the vet for treatment and re-homing. At the time, the problem was everyone who wanted a feline wanted a kitten. So there Pumpkin lived in a cage for three long months.
Sherri said she was very laid-back and repeatedly sought out affection. She would visit every week and with each week, Pumpkin was becoming more depressed.
Craig and I had formed our cat sanctuary, Pawprints and Purrs, Inc in February. She said if we would take the cat, she would donate $180 toward her care, a cat bed, flea treatment for a year, a twenty pound bag of cat food, and two cat dishes. Though I told her we had everything the cat would need, she insisted on bringing us the supplies to help out a fledgling cat rescue organization.
Two days later, the little cat was delivered to us, along with the promised donation and additional supplies not previously mentioned that one needs for a cat – more dry food, canned food, cat treats and shampoo, carrier, several collars, two litter boxes with scoopers, nail clippers, combs, and brushes. I promised to find her a good, loving home, but for only the second time in all my dog/cat rescuing life, I was changing the name of an already named rescuee since this poor baby didn't respond to Pumpkin. Furthermore, we had a male Pumpkin and should she not be adopted out, it would be too confusing to have two Pumpkins in the same household. I promptly named her Autumn for her rich colored gold and orange coat and the time of year she appeared in our lives. She was a little beauty with large orange-gold eyes that matched her fur.
That night she didn't hide or appear frightened of her new surroundings. She found her special resting place on the top of our wardrobe in our bedroom (that's where she is in her photo), though she was one step behind us wherever Craig or I was inside our home.
I took her to Dr Steve the following morning. With vet care already performed by Sherri's vet, she had an excellent checkup, though Dr Steve said that she was definitely not a five year old cat as her owner had claimed. He thought her to be eight to ten years old, probably nearer to ten, so we gave her the birth date of October 4, 1994. His age guesstimate just made her past history with her original owner even more heart-breaking.
And this little girl was starved for affection! She gloried in ear and belly scritches. She loved baby talk when spoken to and responded to the name Autumn within days. She immediately took to us, though she didn't care for the rambunctious baby and older kittens we currently had. She got along beautifully with the grown cats. She was the mellowest cat ever. With her temperament, we felt we could place her in a forever home in no time.
In mid-November a minister called about a small dog that was hanging around his church that he took to the pound and was told would be placed on Death Row because of a severe case of mange. With literally minutes to spare, Craig managed to get there in time to save her life - a little cream and golden brown Cocker Spaniel, whom we named Sugar Cookie. Autumn often napped on the top of Sugar Cookie's crate. Those two would play pawsies with each other for minutes on end.
We didn't attempt to adopt out Autumn until after the first of the year, 2005. We wanted Halloween and the other holidays behind us. She went with us in January and February to our bi-weekly adoption days. We placed kitten after kitten, but not our little Autumn. We decided we would just keep her in our cat clan at home.
As soon as Sugar Cookie finished treatment for severe mange and her coat grew back into those lovely silky, thick Cocker waves, we took her to an adoption day. Within fifteen minutes, she had an eager young couple interested in her and who loved her name. After all the background checks and a home check, we called the young couple to tell them Sugar Cookie was theirs if they were still interested. They asked if we had an adult cat that they could adopt. Oh my, there was Autumn's forever home!
Alas, the next morning they called back and said that they decided a dog was all they could handle. Craig and I were heart-broken for our little girl. Sadly we went to get her, telling her on the way home that she was loved and would be with us forever.
After hearing about the failed adoption, my mother decided she wanted to adopt her. I really didn't want to let Autumn go, but Mama patiently persisted, so we loaded up our little one on Mama's 74th birthday, March 21, and off we went to Autumn's forever home.
She adored Mama and Mama doted on her. Mama called her Baby Girl more than Autumn, but Autumn knew both names well.
How our Autumn flourished under Mama's care! Every time we visited, Autumn would be in our laps for a few minutes to get our baby talk and cuddles, but she would make a beeline for Mama within no time. She was a happy, happy little girl who knew that she had plenty of good food, vet care, toys, love and affection forever. We never regretted giving her up to Mama. She was truly loved.
Never once did Autumn ask, much less attempt, to go outdoors - at our home or at Mama's. That put a totally different perspective on her former life, causing us to speculate that she'd been put outdoors deliberately.
At 7:30am on May 14, 2009 Mama called us sobbing her heart out. She said Autumn had been fine – had gotten up with her at 7:00 that morning and Mama gave her breakfast. Autumn ate the meal, turned to walk into the great room, let out a single, sharp cry and collapsed. Mama rushed to her side. Our little Autumn had a sudden heart attack and was gone in an instant. All three of us – Mama, Craig, and I - were totally broken-hearted.
We told Mama we were on our way to get her, but Mama wanted her to be buried in one of her flowerbeds – at the forever home precious Autumn had found to live the last four years of her life. She's buried in Mama's favorite rose garden, within view of the patio door from where she would watch the squirrels and birds in her very own forever back yard.
I dedicate the following Christmas pet poem to one of the gentlest of cats I've ever known, our sweet little Autumn, who left an irresponsible home and finally did find her forever home with those of us who so deeply loved and cherished her:
Last night I saw you in my dreams
a brilliant light engulfed your soul.
And through my sleepy reverie
a glorious message did unfold.
The voice was that of angel harps
as you told me of the way
in which the bridge kids celebrate
this extraordinary day.
A radiant warmth ran through me
when you tenderly detailed
a special place I've never been
where splendid love prevails.
You told me how the bridge kids
hold their paws and pray
for peace on earth, goodwill toward men
on this special, holy day.
Each bridge kid makes a heartfelt wish
to the Keeper of the stars,
they wish each stray a new-found home
without concrete floors or bars.
They ask that every homeless one
the Keeper not forget,
for each one has the soul to be
a loyal, loving pet.
I watch you drift away from me
as in early dawn I find
the spirit of your paw-print message
still vivid in my mind.
I hold the message near my heart
and with a smile I hear
a lullaby of angel harps
singing in my ear.
Author: ~ Terri Onorato ~
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Midnight Bachman Cat (1998 - 2009)*
Penny Bachman Dog (1999 - 2011)*
RedBoy Bachman Cat (1999 - 2000)*
Spic Bachman Cat (2000 - 2012)*
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Princess Bachman Dog (2000 - 2008)*
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Breeze Bachman Cat (2000 - 2011)*
Puglena Bachman Dog (2001 - 2014)*
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Sputnik Bachman Cat (2006 - 2015)*
Li'l Craigster The Squirrel (2013 - 2013)*
Specifically: Autumn's at rest in Mama's favorite rose garden.
Created by: sniksnak
Record added: Feb 24, 2013
Find A Grave Memorial# 105767522