Friday, October 05, 2018

Rikki's Refuge 20th Birthday Party


Rikki’s Refuge Animal Sanctuary
Celebrating 20 Years of Helping Animals in Need
20 Years of Love and Compassion

Family Members, Donors, Volunteers, and Sponsors are invited to join us on October 13, 2018 from noon till 4 pm at our Vincent D. Cat Memorial Life Center to celebrate our birthday and see the good work that YOU have done and visit the animals that YOU have saved !

Bring fresh fruits and vegetables to feed the horses, cows, sheep, goats and pigs (over the fence at the Life Center) as you stroll about.  Mingle with the cats at the Life Center and the dogs who’ll be strolling about on leash. 

Special behind the scene tours at the Refuge where many roam free for Rikki’s Family Members ONLY.

Don’t know your ID number?  Want to become a Rikki’s Family Member?  Just ask.  BUT be sure you contact us in advance for behind the scene safety details, including ages permitted, dress code, walking distances, etc.  We must keep EVERYONE safe as you interact UP CLOSE with the animals behind the scenes in a wild safari setting!  E-mail for details.

Cake Cutting at 2 pm while founder, Kerry Hilliard, speaks about the first 20 years !
Please let us know well in advance if YOU want some cake.  E-mail so we have enough for YOU !

Come celebrate with us on October 13 from noon - 4 pm
Meet the animals that you have helped us save!!
Bring BIRTHDAY GIFTS for the animals!

** Funds for Medical Care
** Funds for Winter Hay
** Canned Cat Food 
               (pate preferred)
** Canned Dog Food
               (pate preferred)
** Dry Cat Food
** Sweet Feed
** Cracked Corn
** Senior Horse Feed
** please NO dry dog food - that is the one thing we get more of than we can possibly use to help them today 

“When we care for every living creature on earth,
we will stand on heaven’s ground.”
Your kindness has kept the dream alive
at Rikki’s Refuge since 1998.
Thank you for your support which has made it possible !

Kerry Hilliard, founder of Rikki’s Refuge, answers ..........

Why have you chosen to do what you do?

     Because I believe everyone deserves life.  Everyone deserves love.  Everyone deserves respect.  Everyone deserves trust.  Everyone deserves a home.  Everyone deserves to be important, simply for who they are. 

     Everyone means the elderly, the differently abled be it mentally or physically, the ill, everyone, without exception, no matter how many legs they have or how long their ears are.

     Over 40 years ago I first looked into the eyes of an animal that had been abandoned by everyone he loved, everyone he trusted, discarded from the only world, the only family, he had ever known, and now he knew he was about to be killed and tossed in the trash simply because there was no one else to love him, no one else who cared enough to let him live.  I could see it all in his eyes.

     No one should feel that kind of pain, that kind of loss, that kind of hopelessness of losing everyone, everything they love, being betrayed by the ones they so fully trusted, losing their whole world, and now their life; all because nobody cared.  Trust, respect, love; these are things we, every living being on this earth, want and live for. 

     Absolute breach of trust is a horribly devastating thing.  I knew I wanted to make those broken hearted, betrayed, untrusting, lost and scared souls find trust, love and a happy place again. 

     Since looking in those hurt, untrusting, unloved, abandoned eyes that day, all I’ve wanted to do with my life is see eyes like his become happy, trusting and joyful again.  His eyes became the driving force in my life and what I have lived for every day ever since.

     His name was Justin, and he didn’t die that day.  He was a little tabby cat and instead of dying, he came home with me and shared my home for the rest of his life, a little over 16 years. 

     Now, more than 40 years later, there have been thousands, almost ten thousand, eyes like just like his that I have looked into and have helped to change from untrusting, sad, fearful and unloved, to trusting, happy, loving, and joyful, and I have given each one of them a home and a family to call their own.

     What more can anyone want in life?

What makes Rikki’s Refuge so special?

     Rikki’s Refuge, and all the humans who have made it happen, the donors, the volunteers, the staff, are very, very special.  Yet they are no more special than everyone working towards the same goals everywhere.  None of us can do it all.  Yet we can all do enough to count.  When everyone chooses to help, then together, we will do it all, and no one will be left to suffer and die for lack of love and a home.

     Rikki’s Refuge is no more special than the adoption agencies who find new loving and caring homes for those abandoned and born on the street.  No more special than those who rescue the abused.  No more special than those who work to make speutering available to everyone.  No more special than those who educate the masses. 

     Rikki’s Refuge is different, in that we offer a life long home and care.  We are blessed to have the land, the volunteers, the donors and the staff to help us build and maintain housing and to care for everyone every day; to care for them as in feeding and cleaning and giving medications.  And, just as important, to care for them as in loving and treating them all as beloved family, no matter what. 

     That is what sets Rikki’s Refuge apart from most other animal organizations: the ability wonderful donors and volunteers have given us to provide caring, loving, forever, life long, family environment homes to all the different creatures who inhabit our many neighborhoods; Feline Fields, Doggy Downs, Piggy Paradise, Horsey Haven, Chicken City, Ducky Digs, Goosey Gardens, Ramsey Residence, Capri Corners, Pigeon Palace .... and all the other areas designed just for the happiness and comfort of their residents.

     I thank every single person who has made my dream come true and who has stood by me the last 20 years thru the good times and the hard times.  May we share another wonderfully successful 20 years together at Rikki’s Refuge !!! 


Your Birthday Gifts of generosity and love, give over 1200 animals a place to call home.  Your kind and generous donations mean the world to them !!

_____ YES, I will be there on Oct 13th to
                 CELEBRATE with the animals !!!

What is YOUR favorite Birthday Gift for the animals?
_____$12.50 buys a case of cat or dog food
_____$57 gets a check up for a senior
_____$800 buys hay for one week
_____$324 feeds everyone for a day
_____$119 worms everyone for a month
_____$1297 provides total care for a day for everyone
_____$217 buys a roll of fencing

Be sure to VISIT Re-Tail, Rikki’s Refuge’s Resale/Thrift Shop
33% off sale Store Wide Columbus Day Sale
3503 Lafayette Blvd, Fredericksburg, Virginia 22408
540-891-5300                             Open M-Sat 10-5:30, Sun 12-5
We NEED your tax deductible donations of clothes, household items, furniture & more.
Learn more at

ATTENTION: Federal and Virginia State Employees
It’s that time !!!
Please remember the animals of Rikki’s Refuge
in your workplace giving!
CFC # 77674 &
CVC # 003163
listed under
Life Unlimited of Virginia
Thank you !

YOU and your support make the dream possible !!!  
Why not help TODAY ? 

Thursday, April 19, 2018

April 18, 2018

April 18, 2018 -  Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge
What a lovely morning we started with ......   the sun is streaming in bright and beautiful ....
                                                                                           photo compliments of Rick Sharp
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
though my paws are a bit chilly out there ....
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
YES !!!   That is ICE this morning ....  29 degrees !!! 

So guess I will stay put for a bit and do puter work ..... wow I just noticed how much more green is on the bush outside my window that was there yesterday morning .... it's really amazing how fast some of these things grow.   I wanna get some bamboo .... I hear you can watch it grow .... and then the panda bears come to live in it ..... I've never seen a panda bear for real ... we have black bears here .... you think they'd like to live in the bamboo here?
                                                                                            photo compliments of Lolly Busey
See my new sign ?  Thank you Uncle Ron !!!

My big friends are really happy the grass is growing fast and green.
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

We all love catching the morning sun !!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Faces to the sun !
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

Stuffed ....  Muddy ....   Sunny .....   what more can you ask for in life ?
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Sunny side of the cat run !!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

The most important part of the day ...  Nums Time !!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal

                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal

Hi, I'm Baby, and I've lived at Rikki's round about 15 years.
                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal
I'm a really lovely nice kitty and I like being outdoors, I love being outdoors.  If you try to make me be in you'll be real sorry !!!   I love marking my territory ....  everywhere.  I had a few homes before coming here and it always ended in me being dumped ....   But Rikki's has let me live here forever. 

You know April is Cats vs Dogs month .....   Cats have ruled the refuge since I've been here.  I support our Ruler, Opie .....   and Vincent before him.  I have a lot of respect for them.  They work really hard ....  I see the light in their office on early early in the morning ....   and late late at night. 

I could never do that job ....  geesh .... having to be inside workin on a puter ....  I've heard spraying your mark on puter stuff makes it not work so good.  

I'm really thankful for Opie and all the work he does.  And I really hope YOU will vote for him in the Cats vs Dog contest .....

We need canned cat food ....  all the time.  I know it's a big job to feed us.  We're half the refuge population.  Isn't that cool?   That's why if the vote was up to us animals here .... there'd be no question ....  cats for sure. 

Those dogs are always trying to take over .....  but really ?  Are they going to work day and night to see that all of US are fed?  I doubt it.  Opie, he works to see they get fed, and everybody else too.  Every single critter here.  Opie takes care of them all.  Big and small, no matter what they eat .....  as long as it's not each other. 

I'm not so sure that would be the way it worked if the dogs won .....

Sometimes you just can't trust them ....

                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal
WHAT are YOU talking about, Baby?  I did not just finish off all that cat food ........

Quite frankly, I think it's a conflict of interest to have a carnivore in charge around here.
                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal
I think cows should rule.  We're the biggest and the strongest ones around here.  Opie says we can't type so we couldn't communicate well with our friends and volunteers and supporters ....  I'm sure they must make plus sized puters for us bigger folks. 

And we have lots of time sitting around ruminating and chewing the cud to be chatting with you.  Don't YOU think Cows should RULE?

Yeah !!!  Well said.  We need somebody big enough to throw their weight around ruling this place.
                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal
Not some gimpy little orange dude.

I'm with you !!!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal
We're gentle and kind, yet can strong enough and big enough to be quite a force.   Let's go overturn that office and shake up that little orange dude a little !!!!   

Well YOU just remember when it was cold and the grass wasn't growing and the ground was covered in snow and you were hungry.
                                                                                           photo compliments of Clarence Deal
Who went out and found hay?  Who went and got the hay?  Who made sure YOU had enough to eat every day? 

Are you going to stop ruminating all afternoon and really get out there and work? 

I think the little orange dude does a pretty good job.  I've sure never seen the dogs do much for us but chase us here or there.  Remember, it's the little orange dude that enforces the rule that anybody who wants to chase has to live in a secure place they can't get out.  You think those dogs will uphold THAT rule? 

I'm voting for the Orange Dude !!!

I wanna be the SHOW Animal ....  we don't need a SPOKES Animal ....   we need a SHOW animal  ....  I'm more beautiful than all of YOU put together ....   look look look ... just look at me .... me ... me ... me ....
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

YOU?  I don't think so, Pete.  Look at ME ...  Look at ME ...  Look at ME ...  Look at ME ...  I'm prettier than YOU by far ...  Look at ME ...  Look at ME ...  Look at ME ...  .......   Vote for ME for SHOW Animal
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Me and the 399 other ferals ...we're voting for CATS ....  we trust cats ....  we don't trust hoomans or nobody else .... 
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
Opie is a good kitty, and he understands us, and he gives us a place to live.  So much of the world is cruel to us, telling us we don't belong, coming along and taking our lands away and then saying we're a nuisance ....  But not Opie, and not Rikki's Refuge ....  they say we have every right to life ....  even is we don't like hoomans. 

Feral temp pens, cleaned up and set up and ready for some arrivals.
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
Feral kitties hate being in cages.  It's totally terrifying.  Yes everyone who moves to Rikki's must go thru a quarantine period for everybody's protection.   Our Cat Director Ron .... who's official title is Director of Serving Cats, cus he really gets it .... built large outdoor quarantine pens that feral families can live in during their quarantine time.  This way they are together, they can move and climb, and they don't feel so cornered and threatened as they do when in cages. 

Ferals usually come in in groups.  We've just allocated space to some who's home has turned into a construction site.  And they are no longer welcome.  They don't have a place to move on to.  They will be killed if they stay.  Now they have a second chance at Rikki's where they will make friends and live safe and loved ....  even if they never want hooman love.

TNR - Trap Neuter Return is the best thing ever for ferals .....  only when they can't stay in their home for some horrible, hooman created reason, do we believe in Trap Neuter Rikki's !!!  

Looking down the roof line of cat houses
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
Each house has protected outdoor space that runs 100 feet long.  It's a lot of material and a lot of work.  We had much easier to install and much cheaper plastic aviary netting before.  Now we're installing metal for our aminal's protection. 

20 years ago when we came, most of the land around us was wooded.  Now lots of people have clear cut to sell lumber.  Those trees aren't just money.  Those trees and the habitat the create is home to many many members of many different species.  Species, who, with out wild and wooded homes are considered a nuisance and who are often killed just for their very existence or their attempt to find food. 

Rikki's has 350 acres of land set aside for the wild ones ....  land that will never be cut or developed .... that will be there for generations of native wildlife to call  home.  

Yet when animals from hundreds of neighboring acres have to leave home or die .... it gets crowded here too.  And it makes our animals look like a nice big buffet.  Hence we protect our animals in ways that don't harm the wild ones.  Better more secure structures for ours, while letting the wild ones live. 

Cus here at Rikki's ....  we think everybody has a right to life. 

Don't you?

Mom says she's about 98.4% cat ....  where do YOU fall on the scale?
                                                                                            photo compliments for sharing go to Nora Eldridge

You know ....  I don't just work for the aminals here ...  I work for the hoomans too.  You know what this is?
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
This is the porty potty getting cleaned.  Yes, I make sure that is done for my hoomans.  I know hoomans, like us cats, well most of us cats, like to have a box to poo in ....  and so I make sure they get one too. 

You think the dogs .... who won't use a box for anything other than snackin or sleepin will get one for YOU hoomans AND work hard to make sure it stays clean for YOU?  So really .....  who do YOU want to see running the refuge?

CATS providing you a box ....
of DOGS telling you to go pee on your own tires?

                                                                                            photo compliments of Lolly Busey
In honor of National Volunteer Week !!! 

I want to thank all our volunteers who have made Rikki's possible and who work each and every day to keep the dream alive !!!!

 And with this here's my Opie's Puzzle of the Day .... along with a special thanks to those of you deeply involved in the Make Rikki's Beautiful campaign !!!!

click to play !

Our beautiful fence is really brightening up things and making every one ... even the animals ... brighter and happier !!!  
                                                                                            photo compliments of Lolly Busey
The sheep now purrfur to eat down by the painted section .....  they know it makes them stand out and it's a more beautiful back drop for them.....  they're really sick and tired of the dingy old fence !!!

As the sun gets low the pigs come in to settle down for the night.
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

The sun is getting low
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

It must be time to

CAST YOUR VOTE ----  ONLY - 12 more days to make OPIE RULER OF THE REFUGE

or if you have to ....  vote for dogs

but PLEASE .....  do your part and VOTE during April !!!

Love, Opie 
Thank YOU for making it all possible !

You know the highlights, but do you ever wonder what happens every day, even ordinary days, at Rikki's Refuge?  Have you thought of starting a sanctuary and wonder what it's REALLY like?  Ever wonder what those with the animals all day every day see and think?  Follow my diary as I tell you about daily happenings and show you a dozen or so photos taken during the day!  You'll see a whole new perspective of the Refuge ....   See it ... Live it .... BE a part of the Rikki's Family .... get to know ALL the animals on a first name basis !!!!   Keep up with happenings every day of the year at ...  every day since January 1, 2018 is archived just for YOU !!!!