Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Aug 14, 2011

13th Anniversary Party at Rikki’s Refuge
Open House!!

OPEN HOUSE:  12–4 PM, Party Refreshments for all!

Admission:  3 or more cans of cat food per person (MORE IS BETTER!)

Music by Greg Allen (eclectoplasmacoustic folk’nrock)

Magical Magic Show by The Great Baldo Baldini

Feed and pet critters ranging from sassy pygmy goats to adorable cats

Refuge tours every half hour (12:30 – 3:30 PM)

Children’s Craft Corner, games, and face painting


Outdoor tours are up close and personal with our CRITTERS; dress accordingly!!!

Hairballs, June 29, 2011

The newsletter of thanks from grateful animals 
to their beloved rescuers brought to you by

Duke Thomas Peabody            and                   Vincent D. Cat

Building a Better Planet 
                    One Rescued Animal at a Time 
             portraits compliments of artist Wayne H. Morris

You can make Duke’s and Vincent’s job easier 

We are the Happy Animals of Rikki’s Refuge
who so thank you for giving us the gift of our lives and the tools to build our Refuge.  We represent all the animals, the world over, whose lives have been saved by kind and loving people just like you.  Thank you for being an animal rescuer. 

Gosh there is so much news 
since I last had the chance to talk to you!!!

I’ve let a whole month slip away since I last talked to you!

Lots of special and wonderful things have happened with the animals here!!!

Rabbit Rotunda II has opened and has happy new occupants.

We have some special events coming up for you!
Tour and Cook Out on July 4th
Rikki’s Refuge 13th Birthday Open House August 14th

You know I won the Bissell Vacuum photo contest and I’m going to be on Bissell packaging starting in the fall.   I had my professional photo shoot on Friday and it was lots of fun!!! 

The Free Lance Star and the Culpeper Star Exponent came for the photo shoot and wrote stories about me.  I was on the front page of both papers!!!!   Now Fox News Channel 5 wants to come meet me!!!   I’m so excited.

Melissa taught a lot of us to paint and we’ve been having so much fun!!  We’re going to be in three art shows during July.  the first this Friday at Dog Crazy in Fredericksburg and you can come and meet me in person!!!

So many wonderful friends are helping with fundraising and we need it something fierce right now.  Yard sales, bake sales, selling art work, auctions, double your donation challenges!!!  Thank you all.  It’s your efforts that make it possible for us to keep running Rikki’s Refuge.

Remember back in March when an adjoining neighbor wanted to widen a trail thru the woods and wetlands of Rikki’s Refuge to log her property?   Thanks to wonderful lawyers who worked on it, it looks like the woods and wetlands shall remain safe for their true owners - the wild animals !!!!

The best and most trusted surveyor in town worked with the lawyers and did a full survey of the property.  The perimeter is almost 6 miles long and encompasses all 367 acres of our land, wetlands and woods.  It was a huge undertaking since surveys hadn’t been done in almost 100 years. 

The Survey is done and was recorded at the courthouse yesterday.  Almost 6 miles around the perimeter. We need a lot of volunteer help to clear a path from underbrush all the way around. if you can volunteer an hour or a day.

We are now facing two more very serious battles.

1) A few neighbors are using portions of our property.  Fences in the wrong places, clearings and so on. In some cases it’s blatant and they know they are encroaching, in others it’s accidental. 

Given the scope of our land, it's not huge sections, but more than enough to put up a row of city town houses!!!

Our attorneys will now start working on these new issues to resolve any boundary disputes.

2) To date we have incurred $26,661 in debt working to save this land and preserve it forever for the wild animals.

This is a huge number for Rikki's Refuge, who operates on an itty bitty shoestring. 

Yet a small number to save the home of tens of thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands of individual wetland and woodland creatures who make this their home.  297 acres are forever set aside for only their use and are to be kept natural just for them.

We need everybody to help the animals by spreading the word far and wide. 

If just our close friends, like you, try to donate, fundraise and foot the bill, it will be an enormous sacrifice.

Yet if we can share this plea far and wide, there are many people who'd be happy to help with a donation of $5 or $10. 

Please share with everyone you know, post everywhere you can think of, tweet it all over.

Help us help the animals.  Spread this CAUSE far and wide. 

July 1, Friday at Dog Krazy
Dog Krazy
You are cordially invited to MY art show, featuring paintings made by ME and the other animals of Rikki's Refuge!  There will be paintings by 15 of us artists of 10 different species. 
This art show will be held on Friday, July 1st, during the First Friday event in Fredericksburg.  


It will happen at Dog Krazy  1011 Caroline Street in down town Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. Light refreshments will be served. 

Not only will their be paintings for sale, but we will have Christmas ornaments painted by the animals, photos, and the Too Hot for Spot window cling car thermometers! All will benefit Rikki's Refuge. 

Also on that day, Nancy, the owner of Dog Krazy,
will be donating 20% of her sales for the entire day to Rikki's!
So, come and shop, shop, shop!
Dog Krazy opens at 10:00 a.m.
The art show will officially be from 6:00p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

So, bring your friends, and come and browse all of the First Friday venues! And, help support the "Starving Artists" (not really starving, but Vincent can be soooo dramatic!) of Rikki's Refuge!

July 14 to August 7
The Orange Arts Center
129 E Main St, Orange Virginia, USA

Salem Church Library Art Showing
During the month of July - keep checking back for details

Click here for more details about Art Shows,
to Meet the Artists of Rikki's Refuge
and to see their works.

Saturday Donation Drop Off
Every Saturday from Noon - 2 pm, gates open and you can bring in donations, food, especially Fancy Feast, and all kinds of things.  We always need bleach, paper towels, cleaning supplies, trash bags, laundry detergent, dish detergent -- gee that does make us sound like a bunch of dirty animals doesn’t it?  And don’t forget that canned food - cat and dog!!!  And we’re running low on cat dry food again too.  Gees it’s a never ending cycle, haul in the food, scoop the poop .......

TOUR THE REFUGE - NOON, mini tour, take a walk around and see the animal neighborhoods. Every week on Sunday EXCEPT JULY 3rd you can join a mini tour where you can walk around from animal neighborhood to neighborhood, from Piggy Paradise to Horsey Haven and see the animals.  One tour only, starts at noon. Please be prompt.

Celebrate July 4th with Rikki's Refuge patriotic animals!
Event:  July 4th Celebration Tour at Rikki's Refuge Animal Sanctuary
Date:  Monday, July 4th, 2011
Time:  12 PM (one tour only)
Location:  Rikki's Refuge, 10910 Barr Lane, Rapidan, (Orange County) VA  22733
Fee:    2 (or more) cans of cat food per person
Phone:   540/854-0870 (ext 2)
Contact Name:  Kerry Hilliard
Contact E-Mail:
The gates open at 1130 AM.   Meet Rikki's critters while enjoying the beautiful, quiet countryside.  Share sweet potatoes with little Prince, our adorable, young potbellied pig, cat treats with our famous Vincent "the celebrity" cat, dog treats with beautiful KiKi, and yummy produce with our lovable critters.  The Refuge tour starts at 12 PM and lasts approximately 2 hours.  This July 4th event is outdoors so please dress for the weather  (lots of sunscreen and hats) and critters!  

Sturdy closed toe shoes and long pants a requirement !!

Following the tour will be a vegetarian bar-b-que.  The grill will be hot and we’ll have veggie patties ready for you.  Bring a snack or drinks or a pot-luck dish to share.  Of course Vincent’ll be there to accept Fancy Feast and hand out kisses!!!

13th Anniversary Party at Rikki’s Refuge
Open House!!

OPEN HOUSE:  12–4 PM, Party Refreshments for all!

Admission:  2 or more cans of cat food per person (MORE IS BETTER!)

Music by Greg Allen (eclectoplasmacoustic folk’nrock)

Magical Magic Show by The Great Baldo Baldini

Feed and pet critters ranging from sassy pygmy goats to adorable cats

Refuge tours every half hour (12:30 – 3:30 PM)

Children’s Craft Corner, games, and face painting


Outdoor tours are up close and personal with our CRITTERS; dress accordingly!!!

A great big huge special thank you to 
David and Christine Skinner
Have YOU heard the news?
Miss Pitty Pat is swimming in her new pool -
deep enough so her feet don’t bang on the bottom!
Mickey and Maverick have luscious new quarters!
Rabbits are romping!
Pigeons are playing!
Rabbit Rotunda II is OPEN !!!!!

See all the Happy Animals Dancing in their New Yard!!!
Tour of Rabbit Rotunda II

The Rabbits Come Home to Roost

The Great Pigeon Release

Kathy and Kim are doing summer yard sales to help raise money for Rikki’s Refuge.  They’ve sold all their things.  Now they need yours!!

What do you have that you no longer use or need or want?  Things need to be in reasonably good shape and need to be clean and in working order.  Rikki’s Refuge has a reputation to uphold after all you know!!!!

Contact Kathy or Kim or by phone 703-350-3957 if you have items they can sell to benefit Rikki’s Refuge.  Their home is off Rt 3 not far from the new shopping center with Giant, Petco and Home Depot.  They have a great garage for storing things.  Unfortunately it’s enough off the beaten path and without adequate parking to make it a good site to sell from. 

Some things they’d like to get:
potted plants
home accent pieces
furniture that is easily carried
chairs would be good, small tables or plant stands
decorative mirrors
anything you can put on the wall
kitchen items
camping items
anything for outdoor entertaining and living

Help us collect nice, clean usable items that will be hot sellers.  Kathy and Kim have one suv to transport in.  Could use help getting items to and from the flea market site.  Also could use help on Saturdays at the sale. 

Keep up with the blog so you’ll now the date and location of our next sale.

Please help us with this and other ideas you have for raising money to pay our bills and keep our animals happy and healthy.  Pick one of these ideas or come up with your own.  We’ll share your success story here!!!   Yard sales, bake sales, tabling at events and at shopping centers, plant sales, these are ideas that can be done anywhere in the world and the proceeds sent to help the animals of Rikki’s. 

If we made it to Cheezburger are we famous yet ????
This photo was taken in the 9th Life Retirement, Assisted Living and Psychiatric Ward at Rikki’s Refuge

9Th Live space is what we are the shortest on.  These cats and dogs need special care and much closer supervision than the general population at Rikki’s Refuge.  They are the elderly, the especially handicapped, the ones with managed chronic ailments.  They are the ones who need their bladders expressed because they can’t go on their own, need twice daily insulin shots, need once or twice daily subq fluids for failing kidneys, need special treatment for asthma, pills for thyroid problems. 

It absolutely breaks my heart every time I have to say no to someone with a spinal injury that requires bladder expression every 6 hours for the rest of their lives.  A diabetic with no where else to go.  An elderly animal left behind when their owner died. 

Yet each area at the Refuge can only hold so many animals.  When things get crowded the conditions decline, sanitation becomes difficult to maintain, the animals become stressed.  And so we must limit the number of animals in each area.  And we have run out of room to add any 9th Life patients. 

There is such a need for these animals.  Very few shelters or rescues are equipped to care day and night for these guys.  Even few people will adopt them.  Most end up dying in shelters, never having another home.

We have the chance to change this.  The only think Rikki’s Refuge needs is more space.  And New Song United Methodist Church of Mechanicsville, Virginia is trying to help us make that a possibility.  They have two trailers, 12 x 53 feet, that they have been using for office and meeting space.  They have DONATED these trailers to us!!!  They have raised enough money to build permanent structures.

Our job is to get the decking around the trailers taken down, get the skirting off, have them transported to Rikki’s Refuge, and get them set up.  This will be a big job.  County permits will be required, new electric service will have to be brought in.  Yet this will give us some nice office space, and best of all, wonderful space that we can share with many new 9th Life patients!!

Be a part of this project by dropping me a note

Where I need your votes, PLEASE
The Animal Rescue Site Shelter Challenge will start up again on Monday, July 4th so get your fingers ready for daily voting.  Think we can make it to the top three in the nation this time??  I do if you’ll make that daily commitment to VOTE !!!!  

Please remember to vote daily and to ask your friends to vote.  This contest will bring in at least $1,000 if you’ll help vote and could bring in $5,000 if everyone was really serious about voting.

Any one of these links will get you there - just pick your favorite and start voting on Monday!!!

Winnings from contests are a big bonus to our budget, we really need to win to have the funds to care for the animals.  Thank you for helping us help them.

Adopt-A-Pet Contest
It’s FREE and NO you don’t have to adopt to vote!!
We’re listed as Rikki’s Refuge, Orange 22960 - when it asks for zip code it wants OUR zip code 22960, NOT your zip code!!!    You will have to confirm an email they send back to you.

Discount Pet Meds for $1000
Please vote, we need YOUR vote before the end of June.  You can only vote once a month.  Get your vote in.  We’re very close to winning this one.

Walkie Way
Everybody - LIKE this page and post to the wall "Rikki's Refuge, Virginia" and we can win $2011 WOW WEEEE, only the first 10,000 votes count and so far there are only 4,425, this means that if 5,575 of you voted for Rikki's Refuge we'd win paws down

Special New Line of Vincent Wear
or for other designs and styles

Do you drink Coca Cola products?
Rikki's is collecting the Rewards codes from their 12-packs. If you would like to give your rewards codes to Rikki's, simply e-mail the codes to Melissa at  Rikki's will use the points to receive items that can be used for fundraisers, or for trying to win some of their many gift card giveaways.  Every little bit helps!

Time for Noms!
With the help of Batman and Daisy, his cats, Wayne H Morris has invented the mostest wonderful thing!  A special clock for all you cat owners so you know when it’s time to feed your kitties.  This wonderful device can also be used to know when to feed your doggies, wabbits, guinea pigs and more.  As a matter of fact it works for every species!!!
For more info and to own one of these wonderful clocks, click on your favorite time to feed YOUR kitties.

Richmond Vegetarian Festival

Thank you Laurie, Events & Festivals Director, Gussie, Mariza and Autumn-Skye for attending the Richmond Vegetarian Festival for Rikki’s and taking Doggy Beau along. 

These are fun events.  If you’d like to help Rikki’s by attending events all over the state of Virginia, please contact Laurie  Did you know you can table at events anywhere in the world?  Yes you can!!!  Rikki’s Refuge is an international organization.  Just contact us and we’ll tell you what to do to help the animals of Rikki’s Refuge and the world over!

Summer Teen CARE Camp is Back in Session
Teens CARE Program meets every Wednesday from 9 am - 3 pm, starting June 22th and running thru August 24th. On August 27th we have a great big celebration party for all the good work we did all summer long! Teens can sign up for the whole summer or for just a few days. Contact Katarina Galvin, our Youth Director, at or 540-854-0870 x3.

If you’re not a teen anymore, but you ARE young at heart, you’re welcome to come too! And if you’re not a teen YET, but you do love animals, ask your parent or guardian to come and work with you.

CARE is an acronym that tells you
what the program is all about.

We teach kindness and compassion, because we firmly believe those with compassion for their fellow humans and animals help make a better planet.

They learn first hand the importance of neutering and spaying, so unwanted litters don’t end up in the shelter. There are so many inexpensive clinics now as well as financial assistance for those truly in need, so nobody needs to keep having puppies and kittens, call your local shelter or rescue group or call Rikki’s for a referral, 540-854-0870.

Teens get to work, hands on, with 22 species of animals. Cats and dogs and horses and cows and rabbits and more. They learn proper feeding and caring, grooming and cleaning. We’ll have a professional dog trainer spend a day teaching the tricks of the trade. Teens will hone their skills teaching dogs to walk politely on a leash, sit, stay and other useful commands that make them more adoptable.

Heee Heee Heee can’t teach us cats things like that!

We’ve come a long way in 13 years at Rikki’s Refuge. And there’s a long way yet to go as we continue to improve our animal neighborhoods, Feline Fields, Doggy Downs, etc. New construction allows us to care for more animals and animals of different species.

Teens help with repairs and new buildings and do a wonderful job of making things more beautiful. Several returning Teens are very artistic. They’ll be painting murals. Everyone can help.

Every year more and more folks come for tours to meet the animals. Summers are especially busy. The YMCA of Fredericksburg has signed up for four days of tours and volunteering. Teens who show maturity will train to be educational tour guides. You need to know something about all the different kinds of animals so you can ask questions!

Teens will learn to care for a vegetable garden during the summer. As summer comes to an end, they’ll have the fun of picking the veggies and feeding them to the animals!

We stress preservation and protection of our environment. Teens will be help make a six mile long path around the perimeter of our 367 acres. They’ll clear brush and set up nature observation sites and picnic areas.

We count only on donations at Rikki’s Refuge and it takes a lot of work to raise enough money to feed and care for 1250 animals every day!! Teens will learn how much and how we do it. They’ll learn to write promotional material, make posters, talk to donors. Teens learn to budget and to get special bulk deals. And most fun of all, they’ll get to attend events like the Vegetarian Festivals.

Bringing joy and happiness to the rest of the world is a very important goal at Rikki’s Refuge. Some returning teens have asked to visit retirement homes with the animals this summer. This and many other new projects will happen this summer.

Did I tell you? Teens CARE Program is FREE!!!! It’s a public service offered by Rikki’s Refuge.

Huge Thanks to Contributors
of the Healthy Kitty Fund
Our friends, who you so generously donated for, are doing wonderfully well.  Big Purrs to you!!!!
Mystique has been with Rikki’s Refuge since she was about 4 weeks old. Tiny and sick, she arrived with her siblings. They have genetic problems, probably caused from a mom that was too young (Speutering would have prevented this), malnourished and sick. They’ve been lovingly cared for by our doctors who work many miracles. But sometimes their magic wand runs out of power. Over the last year, all of Mystique’s siblings have been called to the Rainbow Bridge. Mystique is doing very well and now almost recovered from an eye condition that caused her to suddenly lose her sight. Thanks to quick and expert treatment at Culpeper Animal Hospital, on her second check up for her eyes, she jumped to the doc’s shoulders and across the room to the counter. Well, that was proof her eye sight was coming back.

100% of her sight!

Boo had been a world traveler and outdoor kitty when his folks came to live in the DC area. Being older and getting injured, their new home was no place for him to roam. He joined us at Rikki’s and we’ve been watching an old stable injury in one eye. Recently there have been some changes in that eye requiring medical attention. There’s no way to restore sight in that eye, but we can keep it comfortable. It’s being monitored closely by experts and if it becomes painful will have to be removed. Boo has also suffered some rough allergies this season and needed treatment for that. Even tough his life in the past was that of a fast outdoor tom boy, he now prefers to lounge on a soft quilt in the sun inside the 9th Life Center. He has a kitty door letting him out to the day run for fresh air and weather, though he hardly ever ventures outside!


Princess Orange
Princess Orange and her brothers joined us late last summer after their hooman dad died. They were totally terrified. All alone in the big world without their daddy they didn’t know what to do. A kind neighbor felt sorry for them and trapped them and brought them to Rikki’s. They were outside at their house and too afraid to even come in. The kindly neighbor and their daddy’s family didn’t want them to be split up, and at Rikki’s Refuge we never never split up families. We think that family bond is a very important thing and could not imagine doing more emotional damage to an animal family who’s just gone thru the trauma of losing their human family. Not long after the family had been here, Princess Orange developed high blood pressure so bad it was damaging her sight.  She needs constant monitoring for her blood pressure and recently on a routing check up it was discovered she was quite anemic.  Lots of testing, medicine and a special diet later - she’s recovering well. She still needs to gain some weight, which she’ll be able to do with your continued love and support. In this picture she’s thinking about coming out of her carrier after her last visit to the doc. When she does, she’ll run straight to her brother’s side and cuddle.



Some Doggies are talking about the good times too!

Anya was dumped at a pound last fall, old, partially blind and deaf, and no longer loved.  She was totally matted up and had to be shaved down.  And she came to live at Rikki’s Refuge.  Anya is a wonderful doggy and started going to events as a Rikki’s Spokes Dog.  She even won TOP DOG ribbons at an event in Warrenton!!!   Yaehhh Anya.

I’m not sure if it was the blue ribbon that changed her luck, but soon Anya found herself in a wonderful loving new home!!!!  



Dusty is an old hunting beagle.  And nobody wants an old hunting beagle.  Nobody but Rikki’s Refuge and a few good people.  Too many old beagles are in every shelter in every rural area just waiting to die homeless.  A very few are lucky enough to make it to Rikki’s Refuge where they are welcome to stay for life.

And sometimes one doggy gets two miracles!  Dusty got saved by Rikki’s Refuge and then got adopted into a wonderful loving home all his own!!!



My Bissell Professional Photo Shoot was SO Much Fun
You can read all about it here.  I’ve written about the fascinating history of the company too!

And here in the Culpeper Star Exponent

And here in the Free Lance Star

from Lisa Byrd
To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone. ~Reba McEntire

Happy Birthday Fred J. Friedman

Happy Birthday Amy Willing Madson

Happy Birthday Faythe Roberson Goldsmith

Rikki’s Refuge and Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc (our official name) are now on CAUSES.  Got a special event?  Consider making a CAUSE or a WISH to benefit the animals who love you!

Theresa 'Dolly' Sekely
facebook photo

Our friend Dolly has crossed the Rainbow Bridge to be friends on the other side.

Early in the morning of June 22, 2011, Theresa Catherine Sekely, 79, of Locust Grove passed away to a better world.  She was born Sept. 12, 1931, in Pittsburgh, the daughter of the late Lawrence W. and Catherine Simon.

Mrs. Sekely was a member of St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church. She loved scrapbooking as a hobby and loved spending time with her precious family.

Theresa is survived by her daughter, Linda Keppler and her husband, Joe; daughter Laura Gilmartin and her husband, Jeff; daughter Laverne Zimmer and her husband, Calvin; son Bernard Sekely Jr. and his wife, Frances; daughter Lisa Witkowski and her husband, Peter; nine grandchildren, Brad Keppler, Sarah Zimmer, Carlie and Matt Wesche, Jenna Zimmer, Drew Sekely, Diana Zimmer, Emma Witkowski and Alec Witkowski; great-grandson Corbin Wesche; and special great-grandson, Jake Montrose.

Services were Friday, June 24, at Quantico National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to
Rikki's Refuge of Orange County, Po Box 1357, Orange VA 22960
or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105.

Online condolences may be made at

We’ll miss you Dolly.

Right now, at Rikki’s Refuge, there’s a collection area set up in the Donation trailer and we’re working hard.  This list might sound crazy, but it’s for real, please bring us the following items.  They really do give us money for collecting these items.

Drink Pouches - empty Capri Sun or Honest Kids drink pouches
Candy Wrappers - empty Mars, Wrigley or Cadbury  EX:  M&M’s, Starburst,
                        Skittles, Twix, Snickers, Sour Patch, Swedish Fish, etc.
Cookie Packaging - empty cookie wrappers from Nabisco and/or Keebler. 
                        EXCEPT:  Oreo and/or Chips Ahoy
Cell Phones - any unwanted cell phone, no matter what brand
Scott Brand Packaging - empty Scott packages from Paper Towels,
                        Napkins and/or Toilet Paper
Huggies Brand Packaging - empty Huggies packages from Huggies Brand Diapers
Beauty Tubes/Containers - empty tubes/containers from any GARNIER Product
Scotch Tape Dispensers - any empty roll of Scotch Brand Tape
Cereal Bags - any empty cereal bag from Malt-O-Meal, Three Sisters,
                        Bear River Valley or Isabel’s Way
Elmer’s Glue - any empty container of Elmer’s Brand Glue 
                        EXCEPT:  Bottle Of School Glue, Gel or Glue Sticks
Neosporin Tubes - any empty container of Neosporin
Laptops - any unwanted brand of Laptop
Digital Cameras - any unwanted brand of a Digital Camera
MP3 Players - any unwanted brand of MP3 Players
Lunch Kits - any empty Lunchables brand lunch combination kits
Cheese Packaging - any empty Kraft Cheese Package 
                        EXCEPT:  Cream Cheese, Single Slices, Shredded or Block
Ink Jets - any empty ink cartridge
Solo Cups - any empty Solo Squared Cup

Please bring your rinsed out cans to Rikki’s Refuge for recycling.  I’d say when ever YOUR trash can make money for the animals, it’s well worth while!!!

Thank you for your love and support. 
Together we’re making a marvelous difference!!!

June 29, 2011

PS: Please help me, I’ll try anything to keep the Refuge Running. I need your continued support.

Without YOU, I’d have no where to go.  Thank you for paying my rent at Rikki’s Refuge.

The Fine Print
Rikki's Refuge in Orange County, Virginia, is a 367-acre, no-kill, all species, peaceful sanctuary supported solely by donations from kind and loving individuals just like you!   We help farm animals, domestic animals, and wildlife.  Over 1200 individuals of 22 different species now reside at Rikki's Refuge.  Please continue to help us help the animals.  To learn more about Rikki's Refuge go to,, and . 

We survive on donations from kind and loving people, just like you.  We live on a shoestring and make it on less than one dollar per day, per animal.  So if you can spare a couple of bucks to buy a few meals, please go to and use our email address of .  We do accept checks, money orders, cash and stuff, too!  Thanks for your support.  Rikki's Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960

Your donations directly support the Critters of Rikki’s Refuge.  Rikki's Refuge is owned and operated by Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc., an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Virginia Corporation. Federal Tax-ID 54-1911042. We hold membership in all Combined Federal Campaigns in Virginia #77674, Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign #3163, PetsMart Charities #1377, iGive, Benevolink, (, your donations provide direct support. A financial statement is available upon written request from the State Office of Consumer Affairs.

If you know others who'd enjoy reading about the exciting adventures at Rikki's Refuge let me know and I'll be happy to include them.  If you are one of those strange humans who does not wish to laugh and cry with us, simply reply with "REMOVE" and nothing but "REMOVE" in the subject line. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

You are cordially invited to see MY art work, featuring paintings made by ME and the other animals of Rikki's Refuge!  15 of us artists of 10 different species. 

Not only are paintings for sale, but we have Christmas ornaments painted by the animals, photos, and the Too Hot for Spot window cling car thermometers! All will benefit Rikki's Refuge. 

Help support the "Starving Artists" (not really starving, but Vincent can be soooo dramatic!) of Rikki's Refuge!

The animals of Rikki's Refuge recently spent a day painting!  15 artists of 10 different species put their talents to work.  And we have been invited to show at Dog Krazy, The Arts Center in Orange, Salem Church Library, where many of our works sold!

Paintings by the Animals of Rikki’s Refuge
About the Artists

Vincent is the Spokes Cat for Rikki’s Refuge.  He came to Rikki’s Refuge when he was 18 months old. His mom was directing him and his siblings across a street, when a car struck his entire family.  Vincent was the only survivor.  He had severe injuries to his rear legs and internal organs. He lost one rear leg, and is not able to use the other.  He also cannot control his bathroom urges.  Vincent visits schools, and attends many fundraising events. He has thousands of friends on Facebook! He recently won a photo contest for Bissell cleaning products, and his picture will soon be featured on a Bissell product!

Candy is a 16-year-old horse. She was a professional jumper, and had won many Blue Ribbons and lots of money for her people.  One day, while jumping, she had an accident; a very bad accident.  One leg was badly hurt, and she had injuries to her back. She would be lucky if she ever walked well again, and she could never jump or be ridden. Her people paid for one month of field board, and never came back.  Instead of being sold to the market for bad things in order to cover her rent, she was brought to Rikki’s, and her rent was forgiven.  With massage and loving care, she now walks and even runs almost perfectly. You don’t even notice her injuries unless you really look for them.


There are many Chickens at Rikki’s, some of whom were taken out of bad situations such as having been used for fighting, while others came from owners who simply could no longer care for them.  You will find chickens of all colors and sizes at Rikki’s.


Dante is a rabbit who, at one time, was a family pet.  The family let Dante run loose in the house to play with the children. One day, when an adult was not supervising, the baby’s high chair was knocked over, and it landed on Dante. Dante’s back legs are now paralyzed, so he can no longer hop.  He now lives at Rikki’s where his best friend, Gertrude (a guinea pig) is also his roommate. Dante visits schools to teach children and adults how fragile small animals are, and that people need to be vigilant in their supervision of children around animals.

Duke is a blind Doberman Pinscher.  He was born without eyes.  He is the Spokes Dog for Rikki’s Refuge.  He and Vincent compete year-round for who can raise the most money. Duke came to Rikki’s when he was 7 months old. He was found wandering in a park in Baltimore, bumping his head against trees. He was taken to a shelter, and they advertised many times, trying to find his owners. But, they never claimed him.  Since they had a policy against adopting out “damaged” animals, he came to Rikki’s. When he was neutered, it was discovered that he also has a bleeding disorder, much like hemophylia. He also takes medications for a seizure condition.

Flash is a beagle who loves to live outdoors, and thinks that Rikki’s is the greatest place on earth!  He came to Rikki’s 8 years ago because he was too old to hunt any more. Rikki’s adopted him out to three different homes, but he tore things up, peed all over the house, clawed at the doors, and howled all day and night, until he was let outdoors.  Neighbors would complain about his howling, and the owners were tired of the damages he was causing (not to mention the smell from all of the urinating! He would lift his leg in dozens of places all around the house, within 5 minutes!). So, now he is living the outdoor life that he loves at Rikki’s Refuge.

Greta came to Rikki’s in 2008 at the age of 24.  Her family thought that she was getting too old and slow to be any fun to ride. They wanted a new, younger horse to ride. They would not pay to let Greta live out her life in retirement with them, so she came to Rikki’s, where she is loved, no matter what her age or athletic abilities (or inabilities).

Gruffy is an 11-year-old goat who came to Rikki’s after his family turned him in to a shelter. They said that he was an “old goat” (at the age of 8), and that he stunk like an “old goat”. The smell was because he had not been neutered.  He came to Rikki’s, was neutered, and now lives a nice life with lots of other goats, sheep, horses, and other animals.

India is a cow who came to Rikki’s in 2004, along with her sister and her daughter.  It was a classic case of “I can’t take my pets to my new home”.  They had lived on a mini farm in the outskirts of Boston, having been saved from the market by a young girl.  The girl grew up, bought a condo, and mom was selling the mini farm. So, they came to Rikki’s. India’s sister, Sweetpea, had advanced cancer when she arrived at Rikki’s, and passed away in 2006.  Lulu Belle, India’s daughter, passed away from age related issues in 2008, at the age of 16. India is now 21 years old, and very elderly.

Lucky is a former police K-9. He and his officer retired after many years on the police force.  When Lucky’s  officer died, the family kept Lucky tied to a tree outdoors, and did not give him the love and attention that he deserved, or needed.  Lucky became very old, and his arthritis and lack of exercise caused his legs to quit working properly. Lucky could no longer stand and walk. The family took him to a shelter, and the shelter called Rikki’s.  After a few months of love and attention (and medical care) Lucky began to walk on his own. Now, although he’s a bit rusty from old age, he greets visitors when they come to Rikki’s.

Miles is a cat who had been a neighborhood stray, many states away from Rikki’s.  A family had moved away, and left him behind. A nice family began to feed him, and took him to the vet to be neutered. He tested positive for FIV (Feline Aids), so he came to Rikki’s where he is one of the first free ranging kitty mascots. He is now a teenager.

Nanny is an 18-year-old goat.  Diagnosed with intestinal cancer several years ago, Nanny was not expected to live much longer. But, with the love and care that she receives at Rikki’s, she is still going.  Although she no longer moves quickly, she walks all around the refuge, looking for the sweetest grasses to eat. She loves to greet visitors when they come to Rikki’s.

Peepers is one of many emus at Rikki’s Refuge.  Found running the streets of Orange county, she was brought to Rikki’s by animal control, when her owner could not be located.

Petunia is the only farm hog at Rikki’s. She loves to sleep, eat, and wallow in the mud.

Prince is the youngest pot-bellied pig at Rikki’s.  Rejected by his mother at birth, Prince was taken home by one of the employees of Rikki’s, who bottle fed him, and cared for him until he was big enough to live at the refuge.

Martha is another pot-bellied pig at Rikki’s.  We believe that he may be Prince’s father. Vincent held a “name the pig” contest, and the winner chose the name “Martha” for the male pig.  Silly humans! Martha is one of the many pot-bellied pigs at Rikki’s.  At one time, pot-bellied pigs were popular to have as a pet. But, people did not realize how big they could get, and that their needs were more than what a suburban house could give them. Many of these pigs ended up in shelters.  Rikki’s takes them as they have room for them.

Rockstar is one of the many guinea pigs at Rikki’s. Again, people get guinea pigs as pets for their children. But, as the children become bored with them, and no longer care for them, they are turned in to animal shelters.  Rikki’s takes as many as they can provide for.

Taco is a purebred Havana Brown cat.  This is a rare breed of cat. There are approximately less than 40 unaltered Havana Brown’s in the United States.  But, as will all of the cats at Rikki’s, Taco is neutered.  Taco was in an accident which caused him to lose his tail, and also did internal damage so that he does not have control of his potty habits.  His family did not want a cat who pottied all over the house, so they brought him to Rikki’s.

Walker is a former hunting dog.  But, he did not like to hunt. He preferred being a loving pet. But, his owner wanted a hunting dog, not a pet. So, Walker was dragged in to the woods and shot in the back where he was left to die.  But Walker had the will to live and love, so he made his way home.  The owner tossed Walker in to the back of his truck, and took him to the animal shelter. He dragged to dog inside, and told the workers to “finish him off” because he could not do it. Then, the man drove away. The workers immediately took Walker to the vet, and called Rikki’s. He recovered beautifully! He did not live at Rikki’s for very long, when one of the volunteers fell in love with him, and took him home. He still comes to Rikki’s every weekend to volunteer with his loving owner. Walker is now an alumni spokes dog for Rikki’s, attends fund raising events, and spreads the word against animal cruelty.

Meet Vincent and other Artists at Rikki's Refuge

Self Portrait in Black and White

Vincent VanCat
A deep and philosophical self study of how the artist perceives himself.

Vincent’s Secret Cabin in the Woods

Vincent VanCat
Vincent’s Secret Cabin in the Woods where he finds solitude to paint.

Eggplant Gone Wild

Vincent VanCat

Vincent has spent many hours pondering why one would eat an eggplant
when so many flavors of Fancy Feast are available.


Katty Piggough
Peeppers Monet
Katty and Peppers spend many afternoons together painting and
sharing their memories of delicious plants of Hawaii.


Flash O’Picasso
Flash has spent a lifetime studying worldwide varities of Dogwood blossoms.