Saturday, December 22, 2007

Tis the Season for Love

Tis the Season for Love
Originally uploaded by rikkis_refuge
This is the time of year that we try to set aside our differences and extend love to all our earth mates. No matter how many legs we have, or how long our ears are, we are all here to share this planet in a peaceful and loving way. Everyone of us has redeeming factors, and a few issues that somebody else might think are less than perfect. But it all comes down to one bottom line.

We want to be loved. We want to be respected. We want to be cared about. We want a safe place to sleep. We want food to nourish our body. We want love to nourish our soul. Sometimes it's hard to remember that every one of us deserves this basic right.

Spend a little bit of extra time this season reaching out to help someone. Someone who's down on their luck, has lost their home, doesn't know where their next meal is coming from, or has suddenly lost their whole family.

It doesn't matter if they have two legs, three legs, or four legs, or even no legs. Skin or scales. Fur or feathers. Stripes or splotches. Just reach out and help someone.

And every time you do, it makes your soul grow, it makes you a happier person, and it makes your life more worthwhile. It's amazing what a day of service to those less fortunate than you can do for you. More than any gift anyone else could give you.

Lend a hand, or send a buck, to your favorite homeless shelter - regardless of the species they house.

If you'd like to help the 1200 animals of 18 different species who live at Rikki's Refuge you can making a donation of food or money or come out to volunteer.

Cash, Check, Credit or Paypal - The choice is yours. Please, just make the choice to help. Stop by the refuge if making a cash donation. Write a check and mail it to Rikki’s Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960. Call me with your credit card information 540-854-0870 x5. Go to and make a donation thru

Sign up to receive Hairballs, the e-mail newsletter with all the stories of what’s coming up in the crazy world of Animal Antics, brought to you by the critters of Rikki’s Refuge, send your request to

Rikki’s Refuge,, 540-854-0870

All of us at Rikki's Refuge pray that your holidays are filled with love, respect, caring friends, a safe home, good food, and enough love to fill your soul.

Happy Holidays from Vincent and Duke Thomas Peabody and their 1,198 friends at Rikki's Refuge !!!!

Meet Vincent, Spokes Cat for the Physically Challenged

Vincent is one of the happiest little boys you'll ever meet. Nothing seems to ever get him down. Many years ago a serious accident claimed one leg, severely injured a second, claimed a portion of his tail, left him incontinent and seriously handicapped for life. He could've chosen to spend the rest of his life down in the dumps, bemoaning his losses.

But instead, he chose to lead a life of service, helping others to see they can always find a sunny day, if they just take the time to look. He especially enjoys meeting classrooms of able-bodied children, and teaching them, that he's no different, he can be their friend, and play right along side them, if they will just help him out a little bit. He also spends a lot of time counseling those who are feeling down. After a good long snuggle with Vincent, a few nose rubs, and some sharing of secrets, Vincent's bright sunny attitude never fails to wear off on his friends.

Vincent wishes you the merriest of holidays, filled with love and lots of good friends, and invites you to be his friend.

Meet Duke Thomas Peabody, Spokes Dog for the Visually Challenged

Duke Thomas Peabody appeared out of nowhere. He was wearing a collar and a leash and bumbling about aimlessly. Nobody stepped forward and claimed to be his friend. He was born with undeveloped eyes making him virtually blind. As the majority of the world is sighted, it was decided that one who was not, had no value to society, and did not deserve even the chance of finding a home and someone to love him.

Thankfully, someone intervened, and he came to Rikki's Refuge. Loving, trusting, the sweetest, most gentle personality you will ever meet, Duke has joined our program to help others appreciate the handicapped. He loves to go on walks, and keeps his head close to your knee to know which direction to turn. Blindness wasn't the only challenge handed out to Duke, he also has a bleeding disorder and must be very careful how hard he plays, and a seizure disorder which requires homeopathic medication twice a day.

Duke Thomas Peabody has a seeing eye dog. His name is Boomer. Though Boomer is a young dog, a friendly dog, and has no mental or physical problems, he will remain a resident at Rikki's, because it would be a terrible injustice to separate the two.

Duke Thomas Peabody wishes you the happiest of holidays and the best ever in the new year.

Meet Little Rob, Spoke Pig for the Grocery Challenge

A little over a year ago, a poor little, underfed, baby piglet joined Rikki's Refuge. Big Rob was one of those special humans who loved to help out at Rikki's Refuge. This little baby piglet took a special liking to Big Rob, and before you knew it they were sharing pizzas. They only shared a few months together at Rikki's Refuge, when Big Rob, much too soon, crossed the Rainbow Bridge. The poor little baby piglet soon was christened, "Little Rob", in honor of his two legged friend.

Little Rob's goal in life is to prove that nothing in a grocery store is inedible, one can ever be too large, one's belly can never be too close to the ground, what's one more chin, and that, yes, pigs can keep growing to fit their enclosure. We hope Little Rob is a bit misguided in some of his beliefs.

Little Rob wishes you Happy Holidays and lots of leftover goodies that you would like to bring out for him to eat !!!

Meet Nanny Goat, Spokes Goat for the Nutritionally Challenged

Nanny Goat has spent many long years at Rikki's Refuge. She says they feel even longer, since she is fed a woefully inadequate diet. She continues to insist, that if I will allow her to use my computer to do some Internet research, she can prove to me that Oreo cookies are the best diet for goats. I took her up on her challenge once, but hooves are very hard on keyboards, and I haven't let her touch the new one. I have also seen the amazingly disgusting mess the day after she has eaten a bag of Oreos.

Poor Nanny Goat is forced to eat unappetizing things like hay, nutritionally complete goat pellets (without chocolate), fresh fruits and vegetables, no, chocolate covered cherries are not in the fruit category, whole wheat bread, and occasionally a few cookies as a snack.

Nanny wishes you a happy and chocolate filled holiday, and says, "Won't you share just a little bit?"

Meet Peepers, Spokes Emu for the Holiday Dinner Challenged

So many of her cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts and uncles and even her mom met their fate at a Thanksgiving or Christmas feast that she turns in horror and runs at the thought of the holidays. Even though she's been safe here at Rikki's since she was ten days old, she still can't trust human kind around the holidays.

She wants to remind you that Tofurkey is an excellent choice this time of year. And that like you, her kind only want peace, love and the ability to live out their natural lives with their friends.

She wishes you a happy holiday where the only bird in your household is one who gets to eat with you.

In Memory of Kelly, Rikki's Animal #12

Kelly came to Rikki's Refuge December 1, 1998, the 12th animal to join our family. She was a very sweet and gentle little girl. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge on July 25, 2001 from medical complications. She had been the Spokes Cat of Cat House Number One, adorable and charming, and never complaining about all the medical treatment she needed - including daily baths.

Nicole, Animal Number 3,000 Arrives at Rikki's Refuge

She's a cute little thing. At first glance, you would assume she is a highly adoptable, lovely little house kitty. But as you get to know her, you learn about her medical problems. Cats without tails are often called Manx cats. Manx are a specific breed, that not only has no tail, but has a depression where the tail should be. The last vertebrae is missing. Your spinal cord runs through your vertebrae, and connects to nerves all over your body. When nerves are damaged, or nonexistent, you lose sensation and or the use of parts of the body. Because of this abnormal body structure, Manx cats, are very prone to nerve problems near the end of the spine. Without grossing you out with too much medical detail, this is the area that controls one's bowels and one's bladder. Deformities in this area leads to issues such as incontinence, inability to go potty by oneself, and constant leakage.

Gilda & Steve were caring for Nicole at their home in Pennsylvania. They foster and do adoptions through Stray Cat Blues, I met Gilda & Steve at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah in 1998, after acquiring the land for Rikki's Refuge, while I was still in the "oh my gosh, what have I gotten myself into !!!" mode. I spent two weeks out there studying, and begging all of their directors for every last little bit of helpful information that could give me. Gilda & Steve were there visiting and volunteering, and we hit it off.

They were so excited to hear at Rikki's Refuge would soon become a home for un-adoptable animals. A few months later they picked up a precious little girl off the streets who was a Manx. She was named Kelly, and her medical problems were far more severe than Nicole's. Kelly was animal number 12 at Rikki's Refuge. She came to join us on December 1, 1998, long before we have built anything. Her condition required constant medical attention. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge on July 25, 2001 from medical complications. She had been the Spokes Cat of Cat House Number One, adorable and charming, and never complaining about all the medical treatment she needed - including daily baths.

2,988 Animals Later

2,988 Animals Later
Originally uploaded by rikkis_refuge
Gilda & Steve needed our help again with little Nicole. An adorable little silver tabby with a little tuff of a tail, and more energy than one can usually packed in one cat.

She's a live wire, literally climbs the walls, bounces off the other cats, and is a real joy to play with.

Ceiling Fans Were New for Nicole

and she desperately wanted to leap onto the blades for a ride. She tried from every angle. Leaping into the air, and plopping down on some poor old thing asleep in the 9th Life Retirement, Assisted Living and Psychiatric Center. Not many of the old folks are very fond of Nicole. But Alley Cat, Jacqueline, Bumble, Little Charlie, Joey and Vincent are having a blast with their new playmate.

Finally, Nicole Got Her Ride

and discovered it wasn't as much fun as she thought it was going to be. Fortunately, there was a ledge high up on the wall, where she could rest, until the dizziness wore off.

Nicole and the other 2,999 animals that you have saved thru Rikki's Refuge over the last 9 years thank you from the bottom of their hearts. Without you, everyone of them, would have lost their lives. You have made so much possible, for so many animals. It's something you should really be proud of yourself for. Not only have 3,000 domestic and farm animals called Rikki's Refuge home over the last nine years, 1,200 of them sleep here every night, are fed here every day, and are loved here every minute. Hundreds of others have been referred to new forever homes, have been able to stay in their own home because of the assistance we could offer, or have been moved to other organizations who were able to help them. Thousands of wildlife have found new, safe and protected homes in our woods and our wetlands. And this has been the best gift you could ever give. Life, home, warmth, security, food, love, medication. Thank you, all of you, for saving the little Nicoles of the world.

Precious, This Poor Ancient Poodle

joined us from a pound, where she had been left by her beloved owners, to be euthanized. Alone, scared, blind, unloved, very matted, and terribly thin, she patiently awaited her fate. When her time was up, she got to come to Rikki's Refuge. Clipping, washing, medicating, loving, and holding is what she needed. Soon she began to pick up weight. She is on five medications for her heart every day. Drops for her eyes, to keep them comfortable, even though she's blind. Medication to help heal her gums until she is strong enough to undergo dental surgery. Medication to keep her digestion working. And several little tins of special Little Caesar's dog food.

Precious Bundles up to Go Home for the Night

Lena, our Chief Medical Officer & Sanctuary Manager, takes home so many dogs at night, that she recently had to buy a larger SUV. Now if these aren't spoiled dogs !!!!!!

Precious may not be with us for long. Maybe a month, maybe two, maybe six. But we think she has the right to be happy, comfortable, and loved every possible day she can. And that is what you have made possible for her, by supporting Rikki's Refuge. The Precious-es of this world, should spend their last days in a loving, warm and wonderful environment. You make this possible. Thank you, for everything you have done for all the animals who have passed through Rikki's Refuge.