Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Good Morning Good News !!!! January 12, 2011

I’m Vincent D. Cat and here to make you happy!  You are HEROES!  You work hard every day and you deserve to smile every day!  Those of you working to save us animals hear so very many very sad things.  And there’s lots of very glad things too and that’s what we talk about here!  All pawsitive all the time!  I want my friends to be happy and smile and know there’s a lot of good - including YOU - in this world!!  Be kind and pass it on!  Please send me your Good New and Fun Stuff to share, personal or global. Let’s keep it fun and interactive!!  After all, if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane!

VOTE TODAY   Rikkis Refuge, Orange, VA, USA
The Animal Rescue Site - Shelter Challenge
YOU voted Rikki’s Refuge #1 in Virginia in 2010
Let’s do it again for 2011
quick, simple, free
Your daily vote can win $1,000 - $5,000 for Rikki’s Refuge’s Animals!

Ernie snags a computer and gets his vote in!

Bissell MVP Contest
The 2011 photo contest starts today.  The winning cat or dog will get their picture on Bissell products and better still the winning pets win money for their favorite pet charity - Rikki’s Refuge, of course!

This contest runs for 12 weeks.  The 5 animals whose photo received the highest number of valid votes each week (Wed-Tues) will be weekly winners and a get $25 Visa gift card (for me to buy Fancy Feast).  The animal who gets the most votes each week also gets a BISSELL pet vacuum or deep cleaner (yikes I don’t want to be deep cleaned with no vacuum!).

They only allow residents of the US and Canada to participate, submitting photos or voting (if your registration indicates you live elsewhere, they won’t let you vote). 

You must register the first time you’re voting this year.  Even if you were registered last year, you have to do it again now.  They did not retain any information about you.  You have the option of getting their monthly product news email.  As far as I know, I received no junk mail from or because of them last year.  Must be 18 or older.

Last year you could vote for any number of animals each day, but any one animal only once during the day.  The rules this year are saying only one vote per email address per day.  But somebody wrote and they said it’s the same as last year.  So we’re gonna just have to see how that works when it starts.  So more details on that later.

This repeats for each of the 12 weeks with a total of 60 animals going into the Final Judging.  That is all done by the judges at Bissell.  But the more animals representing Rikki’s Refuge, the better our chance of winning are. 

When the judges decide on April 13th, this is what could happen!

Contest Grand Prize:
    * $10,000 to favorite pet charity  (Rikki’s Refuge!!!!)
    * $500 pet shopping spree
    * BISSELL pet vacuum or deep cleaner
    * Pet's photo on BISSELL box

2nd Place:
    * $5,000 to favorite pet charity  (Rikki’s Refuge!!!!)
    * $250 pet shopping spree
    * BISSELL pet vacuum or deep cleaner
    * Pet's photo on BISSELL box

3rd-5th Places:
    * $1,000 to favorite pet charity  (Rikki’s Refuge!!!!)
    * $50 pet shopping spree
    * BISSELL pet vacuum or deep cleaner
    * Pet's photo on BISSELL box

My facebook friends and I are working out a schedule so we don’t compete against each other this year.  I’ll be running in week 5 - the week of Valentines!  Some of my friends will be running for Rikki’s Refuge.  Though it’d be nice if everyone did, some of my friends work at other shelters and they’ll be running for their shelter, though we’re all voting for them too!!!  We’re all very important in this world and we gotta work together!

Stating today, and running Week 1 on behalf of Rikki’s Refuge is my beloved friend

Zoe Marie Cuppiecake Peanut Spumoni, who I introduced to you on Monday.

Please give her a hand, and your vote today and daily thru next Tuesday!  Thank you.  It could mean $10,000 for Rikki’s Refuge.


Respect our Differences
Those who wish to pet and baby wild animals "love" them.  But those who respect their natures and wish to let them live normal lives, love them more.  ---Edwin Way Teale

I think that quote tells a lot about feral kitties too.  They deserve respect.  It’s our job to help them with overpopulation because they aren’t allowed in the drug store to buy products for themselves.  TNR and that R stands for RETURN and RESPECT.

Animals give me more pleasure through the viewfinder of a camera than they ever did in the crosshairs of a gunsight.  And after I've finished "shooting," my unharmed victims are still around for others to enjoy.  I have developed a deep respect for animals.  I consider them fellow living creatures with certain rights that should not be violated any more than those of humans.              Jimmy Stewart

-isms, lets strive for a vocabulary where there are none

Refuge News
Just a few seconds of snow during the day yesterday.  Then a misty like rain that coated everything in a tiny but slick sheet of ice around 5 pm.  Then an itty bitty bit of snow on top of that a bit later.  Thankfully that’s it!

Thank you Helga for bringing food.  She keeps totes at a grocery store and they dump broken bags of cat and dog food in them.  When they’re full she picks them up and brings them to Rikki’s.  It’s easy to help the animals for free.  You can set up a program like that at many stores. Cooperation is on a store to store basis based on the manager.  If you’re told it’s a corporate policy they won’t do it - don’t you believe it.  We hear that from one store and another in the chain right down the street does it.  Broken bags, damaged containers like laundry detergent, outdated supplies, day old produce and bread; all useful items to the critters of Rikki’s Refuge.

Mom had a really cool experience yesterday.  I’m gonna turn the keyboard over to her and let her tell you about it.

After an appointment yesterday I was told that the guy who worked in the office next door wanted to meet me.  HUH?  Oh there’d just been some mention and he’d said something about Rikki’s and for me to come over and meet him.  So I was escorted over and this gentleman said, “Remember me?”  Now I’m awful with humans.  Give me 36 black feral cats and I can tell them all apart, but humans all look the same to me.   I admitted I didn’t.  He picked up a framed photo on his desk and said, “Remember her?  I think you called her Mary Jane.”

Oh my gosh!!!  Mary Jane! 

Mary Jane came to Rikki’s Refuge, rather unexpectedly, on June 15th 1999.  This was before Doggy Downs was built. When the doggy area was a section of the backyard fenced off between the 9th Life Center and the Cat Trailer.  We had a couple of small 10 foot by 10 foot pens for the dogs who didn't get along with the group.  We were still in the very early phases of just getting things set up. 

We were working away building something that day, when my attorney showed up.  His son had come home from school with 125 pound, very strong, very unruly, completely untrained, American Staffordshire.  As he's explaining why the dog cannot stay in his house, Mary Jane burst through a partially open window in his car, and immediately had every dog on our property riled up.  She was in heat. 

We had no place whatsoever to put her, not even a lead we could tie her on for a while.  So my attorney sat on the back porch with leash in hand, trying to fight her back from getting to the other dogs, and keeping the neighboring, visiting, intact males away. 

Meanwhile, Kathy and I drove to town, to Fredericksburg Lowe's, to buy a dog pen.  That wasn't too difficult, we ran into the garden section, got it onto a cart, checked out and then asked for assistance loading it in the car.  Back then, the only vehicle Rikki's Refuge had was a little old Honda with a sunroof.  My acupuncturist had given it to us as the start of gift to Rikki's Refuge.  The nice man at Lowe's came out, looked at the six foot long box that the pen was in, looked at the Honda, and said you can't do that.  I said, yes we can, we have no choice.  And though he called us all kinds of crazy ladies, he helped us load up through the sunroof.  We prayed there was no law against driving around with something sticking several feet out of your sunroof.

Back at the refuge we put the pen together and got Mary Jane settled in.  Mary Jane dug out.  We put cinderblocks around the base.  Mary Jane threw herself against the gate until she opened.  We tied the gate shut in about six places.  That kept her in.  At least until it was time to go in and feed or clean.  Then, almost invariably, she would knock me flat, and take off a full gallop.  Every dog on the property would try to get up chase her.  Finally, I’d catcher and get her home. 

When we only had a small dog runs, every dog had to be walked every day, without exception.  Mary Jane wait more than I did, and was about 37 times as strong.  Our walks usually consisted of me holding on, while she drug me all over.  I saw my chiropractor on a very regular basis while trying to train Mary Jane to politely walk on a leash.  After several months, I was actually relatively successful.

Mary Jane would attract a lot of attention when we took her to adoption events.  She was a stunning dog.  Her beauty and her power made her desired by the wrong element.  Guys would walk up and say, “What a beautiful dog, I could make a fortune selling her puppies, how much you charging?”  And we'd say, she’s spayed.  And they'd say, “Why you go ruin such a good looking dog?” And walk away.  We wondered, what are really truly decent home ever come along?

Meanwhile, we built Doggy Downs.  First the playground.  Then the runs.  Kathy, Kim, Fred and I spent almost 24/7 between Christmas and New Year's 1999 building the individual runs.  Mary Jane and friends moved in.  Mary Jane was the first dog I ever saw go over a six foot fence.  We had to put a roof on her pen.  We feared for her life if she got off the property and ran up to a stranger.  Though she was the friendliest dog on the planet, she was a great big huge black dog, with an enormous grin that showed off her shining white teeth.  Wanting to meet everybody, she ran to you, jumped up, put her paws on your shoulders, and vigorously licks your face.  Most of us who weighed less than she did, ended up flat on our backs.  Most people who didn't know her, would assume she was going to attack.

On May 15th 2000 she met her new daddy, Allen Clark, who looked at her and asked, “has she been spayed?”  My first reaction was, “oh no here we go again”.  But his reply was, “great!”  They instantly fell in love and Alan adopted Mary Jane.

As I learned yesterday morning, Mary Jane's name was changed to Skye, and she became Allen's faithful companion for almost 10 years.  She went to work with him every day.  They were inseparable.  Allen had so many stories about her to tell me.  We talked for almost an hour.  Sadly, Mary Jane passed away last April from cancer.  Allen said he was so heartbroken he didn't know if he could ever own another dog.  But after 21 days without a companion, he went to the shelter and adopted another pitty.  Her name is Alley and she now goes to work with him every day.  I got to meet her and she's a lovely doggie!

One of the hardest things in the rescue biz, is getting an animal already for their new home, and then watching them leave, knowing you may never see them again, or know how it all went.  One of the best feelings in the world, is finding out how happy somebody was in their new forever home.

Live from Vincent Video
Meet Daphne the Muscovie Duck

Fun and Inspiring

Tails of Trivia
January is Celebration of Life Month
At Rikki’s Refuge Every Month, Every Week, Every Day, Every Second is Celebrate Life!

A company in Taiwan makes dinnerware out of wheat, so you can eat your plate.

Music and Motion
You think that meant she had to go five days straight without Fancy Feast?

Indian Woman Sets Guinness World Record For Longest Dance
By: William Lee Adams

Kalamandalam Hemalatha has shown the world why she's known as "the dancing queen of Kerala."

On January 6, Guinness World Records confirmed that she had set a world record for the "longest dance marathon by an individual." Beginning on September 20, she shook her hips and wiggled her neck for 123 hours and 15 minutes. The 37-year old mother performed the Mohiniyattam, a solo recital delivered by a female that is one of the eight Indian classical dance forms.

Dancing for more than five days straight poses risks—something Hemalatha knows all too well. In June, she failed during her first attempt at the record and had to stop performing after 63 hours (2.5 days). At that time a local hospital admitted her for dehydration, a stomach disorder and sore feet. (via The Hindu)

Good Times in the News
Winter driving: What to do, what not to do
Experts say key to safety is anticipating what's ahead
From: Chicago Tribune, By Richard Wronski, Tribune reporter

When a snowstorm hits, drivers struggling to clear smeared or fogged windshields can get dangerously creative.  Police Sgt. Jim Jenkner has watched as they've reached out their windows with ice scrapers — while driving.  "We've seen people throw snow on their windshield," Jenkner said. "The worst case was the kids who used a rope tied across the windshield to manually operate the broken wipers."

That memorable example highlights one of the tips that police, highway officials and other experts often mention when it comes to safe winter driving: Make sure your vehicle and equipment are in good working order.

Here are some tips from the professionals:

Drive according to road conditions, not the speed limit. When driving is a challenge, slowing down will allow more time to respond.

Drivers should go with the flow in bad weather, Jenkner said. Police will pull over aggressive drivers who cut in and out of traffic, even if they're going below the speed limit, he said.

Drivers should anticipate difficult situations by looking down the road far enough to identify potential problems. They also should be aware of drivers coming from other lanes and cross streets.  "Across the board, that's the No. 1 mistake people make in driving, period: Not looking far enough ahead," said Mark Cox, director of a Driving School.

Use the car's gripping ability effectively. When making a turn on slippery roads, brake only before turning. Don't accelerate until straightening the steering wheel after exiting the turn.

Don't overestimate the capability of four-wheel-drive vehicles. Four-wheel-drive does not improve braking or cornering, experts say.

"A lot of people who drive SUVs have a false sense of confidence," Cox said. "They press the gas and it leaps forward with no problem. But when it comes time to steer or brake, they have no advantage over a two-wheel-drive vehicle, and maybe even a disadvantage because there's more weight to stop and control."

Keep a smooth, light touch on the brakes for normal braking.  With ABS (anti-lock braking system), press the pedal hard and hold it down. Don't be misled by ABS braking systems. Even with ABS, too much speed going into a corner won't keep a car on the road.

"Ice and snow magnify poor driving technique," Cox said.

Keep both hands on the wheel at 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions.

Avoid hand-over-hand steering. Keep the right hand on the right side of the wheel and the left hand on the left. This technique can help avoid skids.

Give snowplows some room.  During heavy snowfall, the plows often work in tandem to remove as much ice, slush and snow as possible from all lanes at once.  Snowplows travel about 30 mph, so motorists should expect delays.  When it is safe to pass, the plows spread out and allow traffic to flow around them.

"Driving defensively during wintry conditions is more important than ever," said Kristi Lafleur, executive director of the Illinois Tollway. "We're reminding our customers to keep a safe distance and reduce their speed to match roadway and traffic conditions."

Said Charlie Otto, who has been driving snow plows for more than 12 years: "The main thing is to try to stay out of our way and let us do our job."  He mentioned distracted drivers, who use cell phones and laptops and even read newspapers in bad weather.  "People are always trying to go around the plows," he said. "Just give us our space."

Dear Vincent
Why can’t I bring my dog out to visit?
Lots of you have questions about Rikki’s Refuge.  I’ll pick one or two a day to answer here.  Ask your questions in the blog comments or sent to me at

QUESTION: Why can’t I bring my dog out to visit?  It seems like a wonderful place for my dog to run and play.  Danny

ANSWER: Danny, I know how you feel.  It’s very different here than where most dogs have been, unless they were raised on a farm.  So many things could be unsafe for your dog and for our animals. 

Our guard dogs, the big white gals, KiKi and Beauty don’t take kindly to unknown visitors of any kind, and especially the canine kind.  They approach aggressively and will back off when called down by one of my hoomans.  But it’s really hard to get them to back off from a vehicle with an unknown doggie.  We’ve seen them try to get in the windows of a vehicle.

When we introduce a new doggy to them, they must be held back and controlled while the other dog is also restrained for introductions.  It’s many days before we’d ever leave our dogs alone with a new doggy. 

And it’s not just Beauty and KiKi.  Neko and Niea worry about newcomers taking their food, just the thought of it will set them to growling and snarling at a doggy they don’t know.  Jack, Baby Girl, Tess and Tippy are all likely to get offended too.

So if we manage to avoid a dog fight we have to worry about how your dog will behave around our other animals.  What about chickens and peacocks and guinea hens and ducks and geese?  All of which are likely to come right up to your dog and crow or honk in their face.  Very rude I know!  But it’s their home and they’re gonna let any newcomers know that right away.  Chasing and even killing birds is pretty natural for a doggy, it’s just instinct.  Unless a dog has been raised with birds from a very little puppy, they will probably never get used to them as friends.  They’ll at least want a chase.

If the birds doesn’t catch your doggy’s attention, a sheep or goat or pig or emu or horse or cow or cat might.  Again the results could be disasterous.  One of our animals could be injured or killed.  Or your doggy could be seriously injured.  Charging a goat can result in a tremendous butting in the ribs or even goring of your poor unsuspecting doggy.  Horses and cows will stomp animals that harass them. 

Most folks don’t think their doggies will chase other animals, even the birds, because they’ve never seen them do it.  But the first time your doggy sees these new kinds of animals, it’s terribly hard to resist their natural instinct. 

We had a little terrier once pull the leash out of his owner’s hands and kill five baby peacocks before he could be caught.  It happens so quick.  Grab the neck, twist and snap.  The owner was horrified and terribly upset.  But the damage was done.

Another time we had a doggy jump out thru the sun roof on a car and seriously injure a goose before we could catch him. 

No matter how well you think your doggy is restrained, disaster could happen, resulting in injury or death to one of our animals or to your doggy and so to protect both we must not allow non residents animals on the property.

Upcoming Events

The Next Four Weeks - What to do at Rikki's Refuge
will keep you up to day on scheduled events - check in often!

SATURDAYS            DONATION DROP OFF,  noon - 2 pm,  got something to drop off quick?  The gates will be unlocked.  No tour at this time, just drop off.  Donation Drop Off will be available every Saturday from noon - 2 pm in 2011

SUNDAYS            TOUR THE REFUGE - NOON, mini tour, take a walk around and see the animal neighborhoods.  Every week on Sunday 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.

Once a month,  we’ll have an EXTENDED TOUR where you can visit the animals in their neighborhoods and have the chance to interact and give them treats.  These tours also start promptly at noon, and there’s only one tour for the day, so please be prompt.     1/30, 2/27, 3/27, 4/17, 5/22, 6/12, 7/4 Monday, 9/4 Monday, 10/31, 11/12 Saturday, 12/25

SATURDAYS ON OR BEFORE THE FULL MOON            FULL MOON WALK, Bon Fire, vegan bbq, pot luck 1/15, 2/19, 3/19, 4/16, 5/14, 6/11, 7/16, 8/13, 9/10, 10/8, 11/12, 12/10

2nd SATURDAY OF THE MONTH     SINGLES DAY - 10 am - 4 pm
Something for everybody. Come and do a day of service at the refuge and meet like minded souls. The leader who puts together the biggest work party wins.     2/12, 3/12, 4/9, 5/14, 6/11, 7/9, 8/13, 9/10, 10/8, 11/12, 12/10

NEXT TO LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH                 VOLUNTEER TRAIN BASIC 11 am- 3 pm, Learn the basics about volunteering at Rikki’s Refuge. Help with donation logging, washing dishes and liter boxes, socializing the animals and much more.   1/22, 2/19, 3/19, 4/23, 5/21, 6/18, 7/23, 8/20, 9/17, 10/22, 11/19, 12/24

LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH            VOLUNTEER TRAIN SELF SERVICE 8 am - 1 pm, Learn to earn your Self Service Volunteer Badge.   1/29, 2/26, 3/26, 4/30, 5/28, 6/25, 7/30, 8/27, 9/24, 10/29, 11/26, 12/31

LAST SATURDAY OF THE MONTH            SPIRITUAL GROWTH NIGHT, last Saturday of the month, come and join is in a discussion / study of what ever feels right tonight, as we reach for our highest spiritual goal, who knows where these discussions may take us.  Bring something for a Vegan Pot Luck Dinner. Call for time and study plan.   1/29, 2/26, 3/26, 4/30, 5/28, 6/25, 7/30, 8/27, 9/24, 10/29, 11/26, 12/31

SATURDAY    January 15, 11 am - 3 pm  ANIMAL ATTENTION DAY - Give some extra hugs to the homeless - take a dog for a walk, scratch a pig's belly, pat a cat.

SUNDAY    January 16, noon  SANDWICH DAY - On January 18, 1778 Capt James Cook stumbles over Hawaiian Sandwich Islands. Today you'll bring your most creative VEGAN sandwiches to the refuge for a judging. Noon.

MONDAY   January 17, 11 am - 3 pm   LEE / JACKSON / KING DAY, the animals come first!  Bring yummy winter treats and help fluff up warm winter bedding

Vote for Vincent and Friends
please help us critters win contests that help our worthy causes
all these are free to vote in, and quite simple and quick
help us make the world a better place
your vote makes a difference

Not all of these contests benefit Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc. and their divisions Rikki's Refuge and Wild and Feral directly. A benefit to the animal rescue world is a benefit to all of us. For each contest I've told you who will benefit and how. We belive in working with others aiming towards our goal of a better planet for all.  If you're running in a contest and would like to be displayed here, send me the details

Click here to cast your vote for the animals:

Because I Love YOU,

PS You tell me what you want!  Email me at with instructions to change your subscription: additions, deletions or modifications!  Subscriptions:    Vincent’s VIPs - up to the second alerts about issues at Rikki’s Refuge for those who care and want to be intimately involved.  Scheduled as needed.  Good Morning Good News - a little something to get you going in the mornings, for those of you who want to keep smiling with us!  Scheduled daily.  Hairballs - so you know what’s coming up at Rikki’s!  Scheduled weekly.

Rikki's Refuge, supported solely by private donations, houses over 1200 animals of 22 species. On line at Checks, money orders, cash, items at Rikki's Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960

Rikki's Refuge is owned and operated by Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc., an IRS 501(c)(3) not-for-profit Virginia Corporation, tax-id 54-1911042. Combined Federal Campaigns #77674, Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign #3163, PetsMart Charities #1377.  A financial statement is available upon written request from the State Office of Consumer Affairs.

Learn more and help spread the good word, tell everyone you know about Rikki’s Refuge