Sunday, December 29, 2013

Double Your Impact !!!!

*** Double your Impact ! ***

Rikki’s Refuge $20,000 Challenge!
Between Friday 12-27-13 (8:00 AM) and
               Tuesday 12-31-13 (Midnight)
                    every donation ....  up to $20,000
                               will be MATCHED by a generous donor!

It's Baaaack! The Double Your Donation Challenge!

A very generous donor will DOUBLE any donation you make, up to -- drum roll, please -- wait for it --

There's a bit of a catch, though: this double your donation challenge is ONLY valid from 8 AM (EST) Friday, December 27th until midnight on New Year's Eve, December 31st. So, c'mon! Pitch in, and help all of your animal friends at Rikki's.

Rikki's Refuge is home to almost 1300 animals, of over 20 species; and over 600 are cats (Yay, cats! Cats rule, dogs drool. Oops, sorry, getting distracted ...)

It costs about $1per day to take care of each and every one of us at Rikki's. For some, the cost is more per day, and for others, it's less, but it averages to about $1 per animal per day. In round numbers, that's about $1400 per day, EACH AND EVERY DAY OF THE YEAR. In today's short-hand, that $1400/day X 24/7/365. Wow, that's a lot of money we need each and every day at Rikki's.

Now let's do some math. If, yes IF,we meet the $20,000 donation challenge, then that will mean a total of $40,000 for Rikki's. At $1400 per day, the $40,000 ONLY lasts about 28 days.

The one out there reading this, the one following me on Vincent Cat's Facebook page. PLEASE! Make my dream come true. It's almost the end of the year, and you get a tax write-off for any donation you make.

And, yourdonation will be doubled -- it's almost like magic.   Please give, please help us. Your $1 becomes $2; your $5 becomes $10; your $20 becomes $40; your $50 becomes $100; your $100 becomes $200, your $250 becomes $500; your $500 becomes $1000! EVERYLITTLE BIT HELPS.

Rikki's Refuge is in its 15th year, and we'vesaved thousands of animals, with your help. Rikki's runs because of wonderful people like you, who have stepped up time and time again to help out.

We, the animals of Rikki's, cannot live without your love and support. And we want YOU to know how very much we appreciate all that you do for us.

Rikki's has run a number of donor challenges over the years, and we have never, ever NOT been able to meet a donor challenge goal. So, jump in, share this blog with friends, and help up meet this goal.

*** Double your Impact! ***
Rikki’s Refuge $20,000 Challenge!
Between Friday 12-27-13 (8:00 AM) and Tuesday 12-31-13 (Midnight) every donation up to $20,000 will be MATCHED by a generous donor!
Donation Link:
Please help us keep over 1300 animals warm and fed through Winter 2013/2014!
We cannot do this without you!
Rikki's on the Web:
Rikki's on Facebook:
Rikki's on Twitter:
To make a donation to Rikki's:

Rikki's Refuge in Orange County, Virginia, is a 450 acre, no-kill, all species peaceful sanctuary supported solely by donations of kind and loving individuals. The refuge is home to almost 1300 animals of 22 different species, including but not limited to cats, dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, emus, chickens, ducks, geese, a chukar, peacocks, and more. It is owned and operated by Life Unlimited of Virginia, Inc. an approved not-for profit Virginia Corporation and IRS tax code 501(c)(3) corporation as determined by the IRS. Federal Tax-ID number 54-1911042. A financial statement is available upon written request from the State Office of Consumer Affairs.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Good Morning Good News !!!! December 24, 2013

I've been a very very good kitty, Santa. 
              Really I have.  
                     I've been working really hard 

to raise enough green things to turn into 
special nums for all my friends at 
Rikki's Refuge on Christmas day ..... 

My bag is half full now. 
        And I"ve been very good. 
                 I did just like mom said and 

I first collected for others .... before me and my kind. 

I now have enough to give a special Christmas Meal
               to the guinea pigs, the rabbits, the pigeons, 
               the swans, the geese, the chickens, 
               the sheep and the baby lambs and 
               the goats and the cows and the horses 
               and even the iguana ....

enough for everybody but the dogs and us cats and ME ..... 

Do YOU think YOU can SHARE and
               HELP me raise nuf for the dogs? 

Then I can start on the cats !!!!  

Thank you so much,
     Love, Opie   

Timmy and me love listening to the stories about all of YOU who made Rikki’s Refuge possible !!!    Thank you so much for creating this wonderful home for us to come to !!!  If you hadn’t done that .... I think bad things would a happened to both of us ....

I’m sharing my scratches about Rikki’s Refuge .... 15 Years in the Making with you as much as I can paw in at one sitting .....  if you missed Part I or II or III or IV ....  you can catch up here and read from the beginning.

We ended yesterday hearing mom talk about, “...How thru Rikki’s Refuge, we save animals all over the planet.“

Rikki’s Refuge ....  15 Years in the Making    ....    Part V

Rikki’s family is HUGE and it takes ALL of us to make it happen.  Some of us in the pastures, the runs, the pens, the houses right there with the animals all day long. 

Somebody always sleeps on the porch ... 
and poops on the porch ... 
and every speck of poop must be cleaned up each and every day

Some of us working hands on for the animals, building and repairing their homes, mowing their grass, hauling out their trash. 

Someone is always leaving something in the 
litterbox and calling for the clean up crew!

Some of us working to deliver their food, driving near and far, bringing in food, produce, pumpkins.  

The residents look on, wondering where all that poop goes everyday ....

Some of us working off site, at events, doing yard sales, bake sales, spreading the word. 

Hospital patients and those with special 
needs get extra TLC everyday

Some of us working hard jobs with long hours, reaching into their paychecks to help, some reaching in to share retirement funds, or your limited pensions or drawing from your saving accounts; all to write the checks that make it possible for the animals to have medical care, utilities, and all the necessities that aren’t donated. 

There’s lots of pill poppin going on around here !

Comfy Cozy Cats

Each and every one of you is an important part of what makes Rikki’s Refuge work.  You merge your dream with our dream and we all dream as one, with one goal, one thought  ....  to save another life. 

It’s a fast pace ... from one animal area to the next, 
making sure everything is clean and everyone cared for.

Much today reminds me of the hard work and the continuous effort in 1998 to tune out the discouraged souls, the ones who said, you’ll never make it work, you’ll never get anywhere, you’ll never be able to save lives here, you’ll never get rid of all the poison ivy.  To tune them out and to get on with building the dream.  Nobody said it was easy.  They just said you have to stick with it !

Sanitized for your protection, every day, every pool, 
drinking bowl, trough, plate, litterpan ...

Today I hear, you can’t make it in this economy, look at all the other animal places closing, you’re going to be next, you can’t keep up the necessary donations, people have less money so they’ll give you less, people are scared so they’ll give you less, people have their minds on other things so they won’t give to you, people are leaving volunteer work for paid jobs, nobody is going to help you, new rules and regulations are costing more and it’s going to sink you, and on and on and on.  

We wash enough dishes in a DAY to fill this tub three times ...

And yes, if we listened, and if we focused our dreams on that .....  we’d be the next to lose out, the next to “go under”, the next to be faced with euthanizing all our animals and closing our gates.

Many heavy sacks must be lugged 
to the guys with BIG appetites

Yet we won’t listen to that and we won’t stop saving lives.  No matter how hard it is, how many hours we work every day, with YOUR help we will make it and we will continue to save lives.  It might be slower, we might not be able to take in many new residents, but we won’t give up on the ones we have cuz the going has gotten tougher. 

Scrubbing, mopping, sweeping, vacuuming ....

We’ll tune out the negative and we’ll plunge forward reaching out to YOU positive people who want to keep the dream alive, who want to see Rikki’s Refuge not only continue, but to thrive and to go on. 

No matter how cold, even in the freezing rain, 
everything is cleaned and scrubbed

It’s been quite a difficult summer and fall.  Scraping the bottom of that proverbial barrel.  Finding one more meal down there. 

Every surface must be sanitized, everyday

These times have been hard.  Not just Rikki's, but many organizations that derive their funding from contributions have had to make do with decreased income.  Rikki's is very fortunate to have a dedicated core of donors and volunteers, many of whom consistently help out with weekly or monthly donations or volunteer work. 

Taking care of the animals means, clean, clean, clean

So Rikki's has kept going. 

The laundry goes in  ...

as fast as it goes out to give somebody a clean bed.

But it's getting tougher and tougher. 

One bag at a time ....

every day ....  this much trash is hauled out ... EVERYDAY ..

NOW is the time ... if you’ve been sitting on the fence ... if you’ve been thinking “Rikki’s is really great ... I’m gonna have to help them someday” ... if you’ve been thinking “Thank God for others out there who help” ... now is the time ... for YOU to be one of our heroes ... for you to finally make that donation that you’ve been meaning to, but just never got around to ... to spend some fun and quality time helping out ... make new friends ... feel like you’re making a difference. 

It doesn’t have to be a lot of money ... a dollar or a hundred or a thousand or a hundred thousand ... it all helps the animals. 

And it doesn’t have to be a lot of time ... making your facebook friends aware of us can have as much impact as a major construction project. 

The important thing is to do it NOW ... while you’re thinking of it ... don’t let this one slip away ... our animals need your help!  

Ask your Friends to become Friends of Rikki’s for Christmas !!!

Ask everyone you know to line up now and help save the animals !!!

... with your support we’re able to help so many into their new furrever happy homes ....  and to give that life long home to those not quite so fortunate ...  Thank you for your support
Without YOU none of us would be looking forward to Christmas this year  !!

Love you bunches,
    Timmy and Opie

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Good Morning Good News !!!! December 18, 2013

Oh my ... it’s really closing in on Christmas.  I’m working my hardest to fill my bag of goodies so I have something special for everybody on Christmas Day.  THANK you for helping !!!  I want to feed 1393 of us ....  22 different species ... so that’s a big variety ....  So far you’ve helped me collect for the Guinea Pigs and the Rabbits and the Pigeons and Pheasants and Iguanas ......  but I’ve still got a long way to go. 

Mom’s taught me I must help others before I help myself ....  so cats have to be the last on the list ....  and that’s getting scary ...  Will YOU help me fill my bag for the cows today ?  
Think I need a bigger bag?  They eat a LOT !
If you can help me with even a handfull of hay ...  I Thank you so much - I really want to be Santa to them all

Don’t forget to VOTE today !!!!!
Sunday is the last day, we’ve been moving up, thanks to YOU !!!  Let’s see if we can WIN !!
Click on Vincent to cast your vote for Rikkis Refuge, VA, USA .....  be a winner for the animals !!!! 

If you set up an account under this link, we could win an additional $1,000 too !!!!
$1,000 go so very far at Rikki’s --- and your votes make that possible.  Without YOU ... there would be no food, no medical care .....  no animals ....

Rikki’s in the News
Rikki's celebrates 15th anniversary
Click the Pic to read all about it !!!   From the Orange County Review

Mom’s been telling me about the times before me at Rikki’s ....  what it was like in the early days .... about all YOU wonderful people who made it possible .... about all the animals saved ....    I’m sharing my scratches about Rikki’s Refuge .... 15 Years in the Making with you as much as I can paw in at one sitting .....  if you missed Part I or II or III ....  you can catch up here and read from the beginning.

We ended last time hearing mom say, “...How many animals have been saved ...  ?  ...  I can tell you it’s thousands and thousands.  No doubt tens of thousands over the years.“

Rikki’s Refuge ....  15 Years in the Making    ....    Part IV

But that’s still not enough. 

The world has become such a small place.  Through social media we know animal rescuers on almost every continent and in many, many countries.  And through social media we can help these people help more animals.  We can help them with their so badly needed fundraising.  How huge to a tiny organization in Italy, to have us advertise their fundraising event.   How huge to the animals to spread the word of speuter clinics, vaccination clinics, free services and low cost services available. 

Feral cats are everywhere on the globe.  The “problem” is the same.  They are breeding unchecked, they’ve gotten in somebody’s way, and we don’t want to see them trapped and killed. 

The solution is the same everywhere on the globe too.  TNR (Trap Neuter Return; with a huge emphasis on Return).  Stop the reproduction.  Make sure they are cared for as the Community’s Cats.  So often a single person just needs some guidance, some resources, to be able to start a TNR program in their community.  It doesn’t matter what language the caretakers speak.  To the cats, it all says LIFE !

By helping people all over the globe with ideas, resources, knowing they aren’t alone, more and more are able to go forth and help the animals.  And each one of them helping, draws in others who want to help.  It’s a real domino effect. 

A few of you have been around long enough, or were isolated enough to invent rescue when you saw a homeless animal.  For most of you it rubbed off from someone you know.  You went to an adoption day and learned about the number of homeless animals, you went on a tour of a sanctuary and never before had thought about the elderly and the handicapped dying every day in shelters, you heard about a community “cat problem” and you read up on TNR and the solution, you had a friend who fostered for a rescue and you were talked into trying “just one”. 

For me, it happened something like 35 year ago.  One specific cat came into my care.  I needed help.  My vet referred me to “a lady I bet you’ll really hit it off with”.  She ran a humane organization.  I’d actually never even known about such a thing.  Though I’d take in strays and get them “fixed” and pass them off on friends and co-workers; I had no idea there were organizations, groups of people banded together, to do this.  How cool!!   I went to an adoption day.  I met really great people.  People who felt like I did about animals and life and death.  This was cool !!   

At that first adoption day, I listened and I learned that many, many animals were killed in shelters, were abandoned, had horrible things happen to them.  I was so stunned.  It was an eye opening experience I could happily have gone through life without.  How different that life would have been!  Sometimes I dream of it ....  but then I see the eyes of somebody who is alive because of me ... and I come back to reality.

Anyway, I went home that day with A foster cat.  How long that A didn’t last !!!  Soon it was lots, and soon I specialized in the handicapped, the elderly, the problems ... the ones that would have so much trouble finding a home and so likely end up dead without me.   You can see the seeds of Rikki’s forming here can’t you?  Well that’s another story for another time. 

Point here being, that for each person we help bring into the rescue world, they will bring in others.  And when everyone has brought in everyone and everybody is a rescuer ... it will no longer be acceptable to kill off the unwanted.  There won’t even BE any unwanted !!   Everyone will be loved and wanted and have a home. 

And yes, we have a long way to go.  But dog-gone it, look at how far we have come?  Rikki’s Refuge and all the others out there working tirelessly for all the animals.

And so through helping others with advertising, advice, just sharing that they aren’t in it alone, we’ve helped to save thousands and thousands more.  Just imagine if only one person in one country that we lend a paw to each year starts up a successful rescue or TNR program  ....  saving “only” 100 animals a year, over 15 years, that’s another 1500 animals ....  and I seriously bet the numbers are much closer to 100 people each inspired to save 100 animals ......  and that’s 150,000 more over the last 15 years .....

It’s a snowball effect ....  a domino effect .....  and it takes a lot of us to make it happen.  

All of us working to save all of them  .... one animal at a time ....  will you join the Rikki’s Family and help us make it happen?

Remember: Your donation does mostly go to support our animals ... for food, housing, medical care, day-to-day facilities cleaning and maintenance, etc.  But, it also reverberates around the world, as we spread our philosophy of love and life through various social media outlets and supportive help to other caring individuals and organizations. 

Rikki's believes that an animal helped
is an animal helped,
no matter which organization does it.

Isn’t it wonderful to be a part of Rikki’s and know that YOU are helping here at the sanctuary and all across this wonderful planet of ours? 

Especially at this time of year ....

it really brings our mission home ...

Peace on Earth ... Goodwill to all Animals !!

Your donation today WILL ENABLE SOMEONE to be cared for, to be loved, to have a home.

Thank YOU for keeping the animals of Rikki’s alive and happy this holiday season!

On line donations are easy at  you can even sign up for a life saving monthly recurring donation!!!

I’m always happy to hear the check is in the mail!  Rikki’s Refuge, PO Box 1357, Orange VA 22960

Credit cards are accepted on line at or over the phone. 

You can call me directly at 540-854-0870 x5 to make sure your credit info is kept confidential.

Volunteers needed Friday, Dec 20
Mike Woods is driving over the mountains and thru the woods to pick up 11 pallets of nums from Purina in Pennsylvania ....  he’ll even rent a truck to do this !!!   We never know what the nums are until they are here.   It’s always dry food.  Sometimes cat, sometimes dog and some times treats.  Once we got 8,000 pounds of treats !!!!  

We’re praying there’s a lot of cat food on this load !!!! 

Will you come out to Rikki’s Refuge Friday afternoon to help us unload ??  We won’t know the exact arrival time of the truck -- cus of loading time at the plant and road conditions and so on -- but it’s usually between 1 and 3 pm ...  if you can come spend the afternoon with us and help unload we’d greatly appreciate it.

First Day of Winter Tour is ON this Saturday !!
Well the weather is looking ok for Saturday's tour at noon.  Things are very muddy out here right now, so please wear good boots!  Due to the soggy grounds we will not be able to offer any riding tours, even 4 wds will slip and slide around here.  Depending on how much rain/snow/sleet we have between now and Saturday we may have to offer a slightly abbreviated tour, but we'll do our best and you'll get to see most every one !!

The Nature Hike for 12/21 is cancelled due to the muddy conditions.

The Christmas Day tour at noon will be followed by a reception in our new Education Center.  You'll get to meet and kiss Opie, Timmy & Duke our Spokes kitties and Spokes doggy.  I won't know until closer to the date if I will be able to offer riding tours on Christmas.  Since it's looking like a wet winter, I'm guessing I won't be able to.  But if you need transportation, let me know, and if we can, then we will, and we'll let you know a few days ahead of time.

The New Years Day Hike is at noon.

Advance tickets are required for all events.  Please request YOUR ticket application package with all the details about these events at

Tickets to these events are complimentary as our Holiday Gift to YOU !!  Though you will still need a ticket in hand ... so get yours now before the limited supply runs out. Tickets will be emiled to you and you will need them in hand to attend the events.  There is limited space at all events -- it's a ratio of humans to porta potties and it's out of our control -- so space will be given out on to the first ones we receive applications from.

This Saturday and Sunday, the 21st and 22nd, from 11 am - 3 pm

Turn your unused items into food for the animals !!!   ALL donations to our thrift shop are TAX DEDUCTIBLE for YOU and benefit the animals of Rikki’s Refuge and the community!! 

Please help out and clear out closets, your cabinets, your shelves ... your attic, basement and garage !!!!   And stop off with your donations.  If you have donations, and are in Virginia or the DC area, but can’t drop them off ....  let me know your address and the size of your donations and I’ll see if I can find a volunteer to pick up ---  no promises, but I’ll try!  If you’re further away ....  YES it’s fine to mail items ....  obviously bulky ones probably aren’t practical ...  but especially if you have smaller items it might be perfect to fill one of those USPS flat rate boxes and send off to us at the store !!!

I’ve heard some folks ask how we could possibly afford this building and this thrift shop venture when we’re struggling to make ends meet for the animals .....  well I’ll tell you a secret ....  not one penny of your donations have gone into making this store happen ....  it’s all being done by wonderful and generous people who want to see the refuge thrive ....   NO money is being taken from the animals to make this happen.  And we’re all hoping that in January, when the store opens for business, the animals will begin to see the benefits !!!

NOTE --  Lacy Home Appliance Sign may still up at this address this weekend ....  our sign goes in soon ....  don’t let this scare you away !!!!

Rikki's Education Center
21410 Constitution Hwy, Rapidan VA 22733

Donation Drop Off - Every Saturday, noon - 2 pm  - bring a Christmas Gift by for the animals.  Right now our biggest needs are Scrubbie Sponges, the kind with a sponge on one side and a scrubbie thing on the other, Canned Cat Food, Dry Cat Food, Wild Bird Seed, Pigeon Seed, Laundry Detergent, 30 Gallon Trash Bags.  A Donation Drop Off Docent is here every Saturday waiting for you.  Opie drops in to help when he can and you’ll get a kiss for making a donation.

Interested in a job at Rikki's?  Be at the Education Center at NOON for an orientation and application.  Don’t be late !!  Promptness and reliability is everything at Rikki’s !!    SATURDAYS IN DECEMBER

Full time employment available.  We need a few good Animal Caretakers !!! This is the time of year the less than fully dedicated drop out. It's cold, there's sleet, the mud is up to their knees ..... and the work must go on. No matter how cold your hands are cleaning one more water bowl .... they all must be done ... every day .... no matter what ..... Don't matter how much snow or ice .... you gotta be able to show up for your shift .... and if you're worried about the weather ... spend the night to be sure you're on duty when the animals need you. Us animals get to lazy around ... stay in bed on cold days .... but them hoomans don't get no rest round here !!!! It's work from dawn to dusk and often beyond. SO we're looking for a few good hooman hands !! 5 days a week ... everyone works weekends and ALL holidays -- these are our busiest days .... it takes all hands on deck ... it's for the physically hardy ..

Time to change the litter boxes? You'll be lifting 1800 pounds of litter - it is divided up in 40 pound containers - and putting them in the truck -- driving to the cat houses -- unloading it off the truck -- carrying it in to the houses -- dumping the old 40 pounds into trash bags -- hauling that out to the truck -- dumping the new 40 pounds in the litter boxes -- then driving the old to the dump and unloading all those 40 # bags .... so that means you're picking up 1800 of litter at least 6 times .....

This is a fabulous work out program !!! You'll build muscles and lose fat working at Rikki's Refuge. On your lunch break -- you can snuggle and love ME !!!!  

It is seriously hard, heavy, stinking work -- 90% of animal care is cleaning up, scrubbing, mopping, washing, mucking .... it simply never stops. Soon as you've mopped the floor one of my friends will poo on it. This is not a job for the feint of heart .. it's for the seriously dedicated person who wants to help the animals. Nobody, but nobody makes it here if they aren't hard core dedicated.

With everybody hiring, folks will leave real quick to work indoors with no poop at 7/11 or McDonalds if they are not in it strictly for the animals. And so ... if you are ... we will have an Orientation followed by applications and interviews at our Education Center at noon on Saturdays for the next several weeks. 21410 Constitution Hwy, Rapidan VA 22733. Gates open at 11:30 am and the orientation starts promptly at noon ---- no late admittances. Promptness and reliability are of utmost importance to us ... so being on time for learn about the job is way important !!!! Anyone interested PLEASE PLEASE stop by this Saturday ... or a Saturday in the future !!!! Thank you !!!!! And hurry please ... my litter box is FULL ......

SHOP and WRAP at Barnes & Noble Book Store
Our volunteers wrap your gifts for donations to help feed the animals !!

We’ll be at the following locations.  And we NEED YOUR HELP WRAPPING, especially the Northern Virginia, Falls Church location ...  Daddy and Uncle Paul have NO one else to help them on there two 12 hour days ... that means they can’t even leave the table to go potty or to eat ....  if you can help them for even an hour between 10 am and 10 pm ....  please tell my daddy at

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA, 1035 Emmet St N, Charlottesville, VA 22903

Wednesday, December 18, 2013  5 - 8 pm
Ron Herfurth - to volunteer

FREDERICKSBURG, VA, 1220 Carl D. Silver Pwky, in Central Park                         

Saturday, December 21  -- noon to 4pm and 4pm to 9pm                 
               or possibly 10 pm - the store closes at ten and
               we can stay that late if we want.)  What a
               chance for night owls to help!
Sunday, December 22  -- noon to 4pm
Monday, December 23 -- 4pm to 6:30pm and
               -- 6:30pm to 9pm (or 10pm) - to volunteer

Thursday, December 19, 2013
Friday, December 20, 2013
HELP - We need people for almost all shifts ... Thursday and Friday, two hours, starting on the EVEN hours, between 10:00 AM and 10:00 PM. 
Fred Friedman - to volunteer

... with your support we’re able to help so many into their new furrever happy homes ....  and to give that life long home to those not quite so fortunate ...  Thank you for your support
Without YOU none of us would be looking forward to Christmas this year  !!

Love you bunches,
           Opie and Timmy