Monday, July 25, 2016



It's my BIG NUMBER FIVE BIRTHDAY and that means I'm big nuf to eat FIVE cans of Fancy Feast all at one time .....    YES IT DOES MOM .....   you go way .... this is MY newsletter to MY friends ....   I'm not talkin to YOU ........

So -- YUP ...  AUGUST 4 be my birthday ....   and I be FIVE .... and I think that's real grown up and all !!!!    I'd really like to take a day off working from all the stuff mom makes me do ......  but she say I have to work all the time or there be no money to buy nums for me and all my friends ..... 

Maybe you make nice Happy Birthday Present for me so there be num $ to feed all my friends and I can have day off on my birthday ???    Pleaz  

Melissa, Nora, and Paul took our wool to the Wool Pool.

We had 246 pounds! It's easy to tell which bags were ours (the amateurs) and which came from people who have done this before.

But, we'll have the big bags for next year! I wonder how many green pieces of paper all of that wool will give us?? We'll know in about 6 weeks.

From here, the wool will travel to Ohio, where it will be sorted. And then, it will go to South Carolina to be washed, and then sold to become clothes, blankets, craft supplies, yarn, etc. Too bad there is no way to "mark" some of the wool in order to track it....

The scenery was beautiful, and we found a few new friends!

In honor of the sheep, and other livestock, to help them get safely from one field to another and to see the doc when necessary ....  and also useful for picking up their feed and hay and PUMPKINS !!!

Meet our newest staff member, Livvy the Livestock trailer!

We have needed one for some time and this gal came to us at a really great price. It's worth about $2,500 and we got it for $850 - isn't that awesome?

BUT even that great price really hurts our checkbook.....CAN YOU HELP by tossing in a few dollars? Pretty please?? THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Sad news to report here.  Angelina left us one night recently in her sleep to cross over Rainbow Bridge. She's been failing for the last couple months, so it came as a sad, but not as a surprise. She was curled up with her best friend.

She was one of the first dogs who joined us in our first year here .... she lived with us almost 18 years. She came cuz she was shy and scared of people. She eventually made friends with the people she knew very well and saw every day. New people always scared her. But she loved her doggy friends ... oh how she loved them !!!!

She was top gal in her area of Doggy Downs and though she'd get along with gentleman dogs who'd bow-wow to her wishes, she never tolerated a female sharing her space.

I guess there's a time for everything .... but it always leaves a sad. Angelina had been with us so long. The only other doggy resident who's been here as long is Flash the beagle, and they told us he was too old to adopt when he came here !!! We did adopt him out three times .... each time he was returned cus the folks could not convince him to potty outside instead of inside ... they knew going in he'd never been housebroken ... but wanted to try. After three times, we agreed to his wishes and let him live most of the time outside where he loved being a beagle and doing beagle things .... these days being so old, he spends most of his time indoors .......

The sad thing about being a sanctuary is eventually most of our residents will come to the end of their lives here .... the happy thing is that they all would have come to their end so many many years ago if you didn't make it possible for Rikki's Refuge to be here for them. Bye Bye Angelina, you were always loved, and you will be missed.

Its YOUR SUPPORT that makes it possible for dogs like Angelina to have love and peace their entire natural lives .... THANK YOU FOR SAVING THEM

Hope you've got a cool spot in the sun to lay around and roll in the dirt !!!!

But could I interrupt you for just a couple minutes?  A doggie friend of ours named Lucy is running in a photo contest to help win money for Rikki's Refuge ....   lots of our supporters go on vacation and they're doing fun things in the summer ... and they kind of forget that we count on them for our food and care .... so it gets a bit tough to keep the pantry full and to get us our meds and flea drops and all ......    so if you could help Lucy win, Rikki's will get $1,000 and that goes a really long way. 

All you gotta do is click on her photo here .....  and then LIKE (that means click on the like button) her photo .... if she gets the mostest LIKES then Lucy and Rikki's Win !!!!  

Us Piggies are enjoying the summer under the bushes and rolling in the mud !!!   And we especially enjoy all the treats of fruits and veggies YOU bring us on tours ....  sign up for a tour one Sunday .... and bring melon !!!  Yeahhh ..... 

Twix And Patrick Having Their Morning Meeting To Discuss Plans For The Day

That's right ...  even itty bitty baby piggies .... even the itty bitty teeny weenie miniature kind ... grow up to be piggies of at least 150 pounds ....  I mean when you compare it to a full grown regular size farm pig at 1200 pounds .... ya know ...  150 pounds IS itty bitty.

It's just not what people are thinking "miniature" means.  But 1/10 the size of a regular item is considered "miniature" on the global scheme of things.

AND if you get two adorable itty bitty little piggies .....   and you don't spay and neuter them ...  Guess What?  Just like kitties and doggies .... and well any creature ....  pretty soon you end up with a lot more than the Three Little Piggies .....

And that seems to be about the time people call Rikki's Refuge hysterical ... a howlin and a yowlin ... but I didn't know a miniature pig would be THIS big .... and I don't know how it happened (really, you missed biology in high school?) but my pig just had a WHOLE litter of babies .....  

And that's how piggies find their way to a wonderful forever home where they are allowed to be the piggies they were born to be ... at Rikki's Refuge !

Us Piggies are doing a fundraising promotion to buy nums !!   Won't you try some of our popcorn?   And hey ...  how about sending a few canisters our way too !!!   We love pop corn ...  

It's back! Our NomNom Popcorn fundraiser is underway thru August 10th!  More than 65 awesome and unique popcorn flavors, new snack pack combinations, gourmet seasonings, and build-a-tins, plus great prices! Runs through August 10 and all the money we earn goes to feed the animals piggies at Rikki's Refuge! Check it out! 

Or you can send the $ and we'll feed the pigs for you !!!

We just hang around in the summer .....

Netting at the end of cat runs can be bunched up to make hammocks ....  this is a favorite place for kitties just lounging the day away !!!

Even though they have "official" tree houses and places to chill and play ....  

Simba likes high places and hangs out on a roofing support ....  makes for a great lounger in the shade ....  

.....  see his tail ???   Isn't that cute !!

Goliath only wants the real thing !

But no matter where they like to hang out ... they get fed every day ....  summer time is often a time that donations are down ... people are busy climbing their own trees and sometimes forget about the kitties at Rikki's Refuge ......  

Summer is a time we especially need YOUR SUPPORT and love !!

Iggy practices his sailing skills in the duck ponds ......

Patty came to Rikki's Refuge because she didn't want to be killed for being feral. 
Here she's on her way to the Speuter Clinic before joining a Cat House and making new friends.  She's still scared .... but soon she'll find her niche and be happy with other feral friends. 

She is a little worried though ....  she's heard she needs $75 for her initiation fee to cover her surgery .....   she doesn't have a job and has never worked ......   would YOU pay her  VET DEBT  ?

Calli-Jill, this beautiful lady, has a number of worries on her paws.  She was living in someone's yard and had three kittens.  Two black and white girls and an orange and white boy.  She loves her kids very much.  But really, she says, three is enough. 

Calli-Jill knows there are so many homeless animals out there and she's so thankful she came to Rikki's Refuge and not to a place she would probably be killed and maybe her kittens would get adopted out get out alive .....  she knows she wouldn't have stood a chance when the shelters are so full of kittens.

Callie-Jill is a very smart kitty, she wants to help her kids so they don't end up having babies in a few months too.  She knows the only way to stop so many cats and dogs from being killed in shelters is to make sure they all visit the Speuter Clinic ......

She has appointments waiting for herself and her three kittens ..... and she's worried that if she can't come up with the money to pay the  VET DEBT  she won't be able to take her family to the Speuter Clinic .....  gee it's going to be $300 for all four of them .... and that's a lot of money for a young mom with three kids who's been living on the street.

Poor Callie-Jill's got another worry too .....  soon her family will be going to the adoption center at Re-Tail ..... 

she's excited about them all getting nice wonderful furever homes ....  but the thought of being separated from her kittens forever and ever is making her very sad. 

Would YOU consider adopting all four members of this lovely family so they could live together forever?   It would make them all so very happy.  And four cats isn't too many.  It just breaks our hearts to see a family separated.  You'll get a very very special low low adoption fee for the whole family.

Please .....  help keep this family together.  

Oh, Hi there ....  So you want to know what we pigeons do in the summer?  I bet a lot of you think we just eat and fly and poop ...    I bet you even know that many humans are mean to us because we poop.    And yeah, we do .....  but so do you.  Everybody does .... it's a fact of nature ... you be alive ... you eat ... you poop.   So please be kind to us, we're only doing what we have to do.    

Don't want your car pooped on ... don't park under our trees !!!   If I sat in your toilet ... I sure couldn't blame you for what's gonna happen !!!

Did you know that pigeon guano - that's the polite term for pigeon poop - was considered an invaluable resource in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries?  Highly prized as a fertilizer, pigeon guano is far more potent than farmyard manure and was so prized, in fact, that armed guards were stationed at entrances to dovecotes (pigeon houses) to stop thieves stealing it!

AND in England, in the 16th century, pigeon guano was the only known source of saltpetre, necessary for gunpowder and hence a highly valued commodity.

AND we pigeons were the precursors to your smart phones ---  your whole communications systems really - so thank us !!   You hoomans really had a lot to learn from us to get to your current state of evolvement. 

We were the messengers in the earliest large-scale communication network on the planet, in Syria and Persia around the 5th century BC.  That was a VERY long time ago !

Later, in the 12th century AD, we linked the city of Baghdad and all the main towns and cities in Syria and Egypt by carrying messages about.  This was the SOLE source of communication back than.  Just think, instead of that smart phone in your pocket, you could have one of us Pigeons on your shoulder !!!   I think that would make the world a LOT more fun. 

In 1896 New Zealand and the Great Barrier Island set up a pigeon messaging route. Prior to us taking control, it took the humans on Great Barrier Island 3 days to contact New Zealand to send help for a serious emergency, like a sinking ship.   We could get a message there in 1.75 hours ....  and one of us named "Velocity" could do it in only 50 minutes ... averaging 78 miles an hour ....  We've even been clocked flying at over 90 mph !!   So how's that for being the speed demons of the world !! 

The cheetah is the only mammal who can get close to our speeds, and they can't keep up that pace for long, and imagine trying to train a CAT ... ha ha ha ha.    

Falcons can dive faster ... but that's straight down ....  you don't want your SOS message going down when you're treading water while the great whites circle ......   

Reuters, the famous news agency, started its European business in 1850 with 45 pigeons carrying the latest news and stock prices from Aachen in Germany to Brussels in Belgium. They had telegraph but the numerous gaps in the transmission lines made communication difficult and slower than pigeons.  We pigeons also beat the railways by four hours.   

And you call us bird-brains as if it's derogatory !  Think twice about that one human !!

The last ‘pigeon post’ service was abandoned in India in 2004 with the birds being retired to live out the rest of their days in peace.  See, they care about us too.  We've worked hard for you humans over the years.

Science - human science I might add - ranks us pigeons as highly intelligent, tops in the bird kingdom, and right up there with some of the mammals you think are super smart, compared to you.  It's always comparing it to a human, isn't it?

We are the heroes of the Navy's Project Sea Hunt, identifying life jackets floating in the water and saving time and lives by finding survivors quicker than humans can.  We were found to be more reliable than humans (not too hard to surpass that ... yeah, I see the wheels in HER head turning, can we train pigeons to do litterboxes?), but also we are many times quicker spotting survivors from a capsized or sinking boat than you humans with all your technology.  

So does that make you feel like giving us a reward and getting some nummy food for us? 

At only $4.99 a bag, wouldn't you like to  FEED US  ....  a 5 pound bag will last one of us close to a month ....  and I have 50 friends to share with !!! 

Thank you !!

Summer time at Rikki's means lots of festivals and events to go to ....

Richmond Vegetarian Festival

Events are fun and sociable for volunteers and it helps to spread the word about Rikki's, brings in donations, rounds up new volunteers, and helps animals to get adopted !!!!   All very important!  If you'd like to have some fun and help the animals at the same time, sign up as an event volunteer .... 

Summer is a great time for everybody to get involved in some fix up and spruce up, making the animal's homes even nicer !!!  

We've seen a lot of Dennis, Crystal, Ron, Paul, Clarence, Robyn, Matthew, Lolly and Frank (looking forward to seeing more of you soon!) and others scurrying all over the Refuge up to one good chore or another !! 

Day after day, Dennis and Crystal chugged away .... and now the office trailers have gotten a serious face lift, the roofs sealed, the windows caulked, walls repaired where there had been water damaged, interiors painted, cleaned up, organized and all set up.  We now have usable offices, photo studio space for adoption animal portraits, an employee lounge and lunch area ... and there's more to come. 

We still need to paint the exteriors, stain the deck .... and I really need somebody who can change out a circuit breaker that keeps blowing and is bogus ... and we'd love someone who can paint murals on and in the office trailers and all over all the barns and outbuildings !!!!  

Could that be YOU ?

Feline Fields has seen a facelift, thanks mostly to Ron.  Fresh coat of paint on the exteriors -- need those murals !!!   New windows for all the cat houses. 

Ron has also worked on planting trees, fix up and bridge and deck staining at Rainbow Bridge and fresh new signs to keep us all on track.

The Life Center had the deck stained and is getting the shutters and front porch painted.  I needs lots of interior paint.  All the outbuildings and barns need paint AND MURALS, and the fences need painting. 

Clarence has been hugely instrumental in putting in miles - literally - of fencing.  Thank you Paul for letting us use your tractor, without that, we could not have installed so much fencing so quickly.  Now the livestock have four large pens instead of one ....  paws crossed this will give them enough to eat year round as we rotate fields.  With only one large one and one small one in the past, we'd run out of grass too quick having to spend $800 a WEEK on hay 4 or 5 months out of the year. 

We've just spent a huge amount of money we don't have on fencing ....  but we think in the long run it will more than pay off.  But that debt is sitting there staring us in the face ....  if you could spare the price of a board or panel or post it would BE SO MUCH HELP ....


Bowie helps out with computer work.

And so can you !!!   Lots to do ... computer and office like work.  Filing, data entry, graphic art.  Help on social media from the comfort of your own home ....  come out here and volunteer in our nice new air conditioned office trailers !!  Take pictures of the animals !!  We now have a nice studio where you can dress them up (oh joy for joy, says Opie) convince them to act cute and snap away !!  Write stories about the animals.  Even learn to give tours and help in other ways.

We desperately need a good webmaster to help revamp our web site and to keep it up to date.

If we're calling YOUR name ... let us know

Hey will YOU do me a BIG FAVOR ??  

Pop over to GREAT NON-PROFITS and tell 'em how much you LOVE Rikki's Refuge !!  All sorts of contests, prizes and grants count on the REVIEWS there to pick winners ....   please give us YOUR REVIEW and make Rikki's Refuge a Winner !!!!   Thank you ....  

Lo and behold ... as Ron was working on replacing a board on the Rainbow Bridge .... he heard a THUMP .....   turning to look .... expecting to see a cat ..... 

He didn't expect this guy !!!  He'd just jumped right down from a branch on an overhanging tree to see what Ron was up to !!!   Lucky for us, Ron stayed .... COOL ... and whipped out his camera for a photo.

After getting a pic ... Ron tried to urge the little guy off the bridge so the pounding of nails to set the new board didn't bother the poor little guy .....

.....   little green guy decided to stand his ground ... or bridge .....   and watch what Ron was doing.

You know all about saving the 1300 animals who live at Rikki's ... that's the domestic animals, the cats and dogs, and the farm animals, the cows and sheep and chickens ....   1300 who live here day in and day out ....  and the thousands and thousands of others who have been here before them, spending their natural lives, or finding new adoptive homes.

But do you think about the thousands and thousands of other animals who make their home in our protected 350 acres of woods and wetlands?  If you come on a nature hike, you might see a few of them.  But most will stay hidden from you.  That's because humans haven't been very nice to wildlife and so the animals we want to see and photograph are fearful of us and hide.  And they can do a very good job of hiding. 

Most of the wildlife here, from little fish and frogs and turtles that swim in the creeks and beaver ponds, to the birds and owls and bats who nest in the trees, to the bear and deer, bobcats and foxes, were native to these woods.  Every year they are joined by many new wild residents who were rehabilitated or relocated by Virginia animal control officers or licensed wildlife rehabbers.

In this world of shrinking natural habitat ....  YOU have allowed us to give them this 350 acres of peace and happiness where they know their home will never be bulldozed down to make way for condos.

And they appreciate all the help you give them !!!       
ps. we're NOT promoting the feeding of wildlife, it's just a cute picture,
we ARE promoting safeguarding natural habitat !!!

Come on a tour, catch the next nature hike, watch for the full moon walks ....  get your tickets at

Please stop by on a Saturdays and drop off donations

Bring donations to our store RE-TAIL in Fredericksburg --- we can turn ANYTHING into cash to buy nums for the animals !!

And now we've reached about the coolest place on the Refuge !!!!   With lots of cool water "ponds" and the water being freshened daily ...  everybody gets a chance for a swim !

Anybody's unsupervised water bowl makes for a great swim
... come on mommey ... let us in ....

How on earth do you get ducks and geese, as a lot of visitors. 

Well a lot of people think it'd be cool to have ducks or geese or chickens or peacocks or guinea hens around their yard ... then they find out they are animals ....  they make noise .... they poop .... and their environment smells bad if you don't keep it clean every day .... and that takes a lot of time .... and guess what else? 

They even reproduce without abandon if you let them.  No, we can't send these guys to the Speuter Clinic, it's all cuz of bird anatomy and I bet you don't want an anatomy lesson right now.    But you can manage population growth thru egg management.  Just incorporate that into the hours you spend every day cleaning and caring for your birds and you'll have that problem solved ....  but most folks wait till they have an explosion of babies, the landlord says get rid of these birds, the home owner's association cites you for noise or smell or birds wondering about .....   and here come new residents for Rikki's.

And sometimes animals get left behind when people move ....  like last year when we rescued 67 ducks from a back yard butcher who'd been shut down and just abandoned them.

Yikes ... what a mess !!!!  

We're so thankful that YOU have made it possible for us to Save a Life each and every day !!!

I love you,