Thursday, October 13, 2011

Good Morning Good News !!!! October 13, 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!
Catnip Candy
The good news is that I was blessed to know and love Auntie Catnip Candy.   

The Good News is Candy was a great big huge part of Rikki’s Refuge from her first volunteer day on December 6, 2005. 

Candy had read about Rikki’s in the CFC (Combined Federal Campaigns #77674, Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign #3163) catalog a few years earlier and had contacted mom to ask some questions.  She and Paul then became donors.  Later they came on tours.

Candy had retired and their first volunteer work day turned out to be December 6, 2005.  The day after every single roof on every single run in Feline Fields and Rabbit Rotunda, had collapsed under a huge snow load the day before.  Mom had sent out a plea for help to get the roofs temporarily up off the grounds and the runs secure and usable.  many volunteers turned out.

Candy and Paul arrived and said, HI.  They had not yet heard about the disaster.  Mom just assumed they were there to help with the roofs and said thank you, thank you, so much for coming and too them to Cat House #3 where everyone was working.  It was freezing cold, there was snow up to hooman knees, fingers were frozen, and it was hard work trying to shake off the snow from the netting roofs, now laying on the ground, and hoist them overhead and get them tied off with line running back and forth from wall to wall.  Candy and Paul worked tirelessly.  Mom kept looking at Candy’s feet in dockside shoes and thinking, gosh her toes must be frozen, I wonder why she didn’t wear boots.  Once or twice mom mentioned it and Candy smiled her big smile and said, I’m not as cold as you need help!! 

At the end of the day Candy and Paul were talking to mom and told her they’d just come down to donate some food!!!  That’s why they didn’t dress so warm, they didn’t know it’d end up being a day they worked in the freezing weather till after dark!!!!  Mom thought, uh oh, they sure are nice people, I bet today just scared them away forever!

But the Good News for Rikki’s was - it didn’t!  They came back and they helped with so many things.  They’ve both been members of our board for many, many years now.  Such an integral part of Rikki’s that it’s hard to remember a time before Candy and Paul!

Candy makes and sells her famous catnip sacs for Rikki’s.  Candy and Paul worked at events, especially the Wine Festival in Front Royal every year.  They ran the Mile Long Yard Sale in Alexandria.  They volunteered at the National Capital Cat Shows.  They helped with adoption events.  They worked on teams building and improving Animal Neighborhoods.  They scooped litterboxes when we needed them to.

It was Good News when Candy took over the Pumpkin Runs in October and November of each year, meeting up with churches, nurseries and others selling pumpkins, coordinating pick ups and delivering to Rikki’s.  All the animals except us cats and the doggies love pumpkins.  It’s really good healthy food.  If you can drive one or more loads of pumpkins this year, trunk full, van full, truck full, please contact Jon O'Connor who’ll be heading up the Pumpkin Patch this year.

It was Good News when Candy picked up produce, bread and broken bags of dog and cat food from several different stores, and delivered to Rikki’s usually at least twice a week.  Rain or shine, snow or heat, Candy’s smiling face was there helping the animals.  She did this for years, saving huge amounts of money on our grocery bill. 

It was Good News that Candy kept track of the pantry and when we were low on cleaning supplies - any idea how much bleach, laundry detergent, trash bags, paper towels, dish soap and so on it takes to sanitize 1300 animals every day? - she’d put out a plea for the needed supplies.  Often what others didn't donate - she simply bought and donated to Rikki’s herself.  Never saying a word.  Just stocking the pantry.

Same with cat food.  If enough wasn’t coming in - watch out - she’d order a huge batch from Wegman’s  (best price around on their own brand 13.2 oz cans) - and the pantry would be stocked again.

Last year when that bad lady stole a lot of Rikki’s donations and stole money from credit accounts and bank accounts and mom was so scared about what would happen to Rikki’s - Candy and Paul made a hugely generous donation to keep Rikki’s floating till things could be recovered. 

It was Good News if Candy was your friend.  Always there for who ever needed them, Candy and Paul helped their friends and anyone they met, too.  Down and out?  Need a hand?  Need an encouraging word?  Candy was there.  And Paul was always there with her.

Puppy Pals, a program where you can donate $15 on a particular day each month to feed canned food to the doggies was dreamed up and implemented by Candy.  And that was Good News!  You can still pick a day of the month that you’d like to claim as your very own to be a Puppy Pal:  Every single doggy will be your pal one day a month!!!!

It was really Good News when Candy started Vincent’s Vittles just for ME and my feline friends!!  Her dream was that everyone would pick a day and a cat house and for only $25 a month you can feed one whole cat house full of felines for the whole day !!!!!   Just pick your cat house, and your day, and sign up!

It was bad news when Candy went to the hospital in early September.  She missed the National Capital Cat Show and we missed her terribly.  We all gathered together and we prayed and we prayed.

And it was very, very sad news when our beloved and always smiling Candy passed away yesterday (Wednesday) morning.  Her husband Paul, her mom, sister and her beloved nephew, Chris, were with her.

Condolences can be sent to
Paul Erhard
5409 Richenbacher Ave
Alexandria VA 22304

You can sign Candy's memory book here:

There will be a visitation to say good by to Candy and to give Paul a hug on Monday, October 17th from 2 pm - 4 pm and 6 pm - 8 pm at
Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home
1500 West Braddock Road
Alexandria, VA 22302

There will be a visitation Tuesday, October 18th from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm and Wednesday, October 19th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am, followed by a service Wednesday, October 19th at 11:00 am at
McComas Funeral Home, Abingdon
1317 Cokesbury Rd.
Abingdon, MD 21009
(410) 676-4600

Candy will be buried near her home town and where her mother and sister still reside. 

Mary had a wonderful idea and I'd like to share it with you: I suggest that Rikki's people who knew Candy write something about her (your favorite memory, things at Rikki's that will remind you of Candy, what you liked about her, etc.) so we can put together a memory book of what Candy meant to Rikki's Refuge.  You may send things to me (Mary Walker and I will coordinate it.  Please try to keep your comments positive, not sad.  We want this to be a book of happiness and joy, just what Candy’s smile always brought to us!  Please send in your special pictures of Candy to be included, too.

At the request of a number of friends we have started the Candy Erhard Memorial Fund.  We’ll use the funds for a special project just for Candy.  I promise we’ll brain storm and pick something she would love!

While just searching google for Candy’s on-line information, I discovered she was quite famous!!!  That smile grabs everybody’s heart!!! 

I bet you smiled when you saw her smile!!  Didn’t you?

OCTOBER 15, 2011 1-5 PM
              RAIN DATE OCT. 22ND
Admission tickets: $3 bought on line $5 at the door
              Game tickets: 1 per can of cat food or $.50 each

                             ~ $5 MASSAGES FOR THE ADULTS BY NORA ELDRIDGE



All proceeds from Rikki’s Haunted Forest will benefit the animals at Rikki’s Refuge. If you dare enter the forest you will be walking through woods on uneven paths with little lighting and possibly through water. Please wear appropriate clothing and footwear.

To volunteer as human or monster
contact Katarina at

Oh Candy!  How much and in how many ways you touched us!  I’ll love you always.

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