Wednesday, March 21, 2018

March 11, 2018

March 11, 2018 -  Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge

Good Morning .... Did your time just like randomly change? Is this like a weird thing hoomans do, or what? I thought it was Sun's job to set time. Like straight up Sun say it be noon. But now hoomans is deciding this? I think Sun might be mad cus I don't see him yet this morning .... I think maybe he send clouds to cover da hoomans who don't show the respect to agree with Sun bout time.

But the really good new is it stayed light longer tonight !!!!   And that is really nice !!!!   It makes work at Rikki's so much easier when I can keep my hoomans going on to 7 pm and they can still see what they're doing  !!!!!  

                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
And even better news !!!!!    Breakfast was an hour EARLIER !!!!

Mmmmm That donated food was lip lickin good !!!!!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

JoJo is such a good little boy !   He's all ready to get to work and help with the clean up !!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

Valerie practicing her morning yoga routine !
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

But you SAID wash my hands before I eat .....
                                                                                           photo compliments of a hooman

                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

You want I should just poop in the scooper so you don't have to hunt for it ????
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

And we're still having some technical difficulties with cameras and pictures .....  

But that's ok .... cuz it was still a good day !!!

Love, Opie 
Thank YOU for making it all possible !

March 10, 2018

March 10, 2018 -  Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge


And it started as a disaster day !!!!   

Do YOU know what this is?
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
It's ICE dumped out a water bowl .....   ICE ....  I thought we were well on our way to spring and here it is all cold again !!!  

The less than year old hot water heater isn't working .... needs parts that can't be gotten till Monday .... Ohhhh Noooo ..... do you have a clue how much water we'll be heating up in the microwave for cleaning ?????
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
The culprit !!... Vapor sensor for the hot water tank ... something so small causing all this trouble!!

The guy at the plumbing supply place in town said, yeah ....  you better buy several of those .... that's why we don't even carry that brand anymore ....  nothin but trouble ...  that vapor sensor goes out all the time.   And he told us where we could get it.  Papa Doug called ...  but not open till Monday.  Great !!!!   So we will buy a couple on Monday. 

AND the potty in the 9th Life is stopped up ....
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
don't look at me .... I didn't do that ..... some hooman .......

All the water from the mop sink and the laundry and everything was coming up in that bathroom and it was one great big horrible mess.   Good thing I got hoomans I can put to work! 

Papa Doug called around and found a place that was open where he could rent a great big giant SNAKE .....   I heard him say that on the phone .....  and I took off running.  That's gonna be HIS job ... I'm not gettin no where near no snake .... especially a BIG SNAKE ....
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

It took hours of working with that great big snake to get things all cleared out .....   they had to take the toilet up ....  and still they could not break up the great big clog .....  then they had to pull the deck up cus there's a clean out outside under the front deck .... and they still had to work and work and work !!! 

Finally ......  a whole bunch of paper towels came out .....  I can tell you .... if Papa Doug find out who flushed that .... there gonna be a lot of great big trouble round here.   I didn't do it.  I think maybe the dawg did. 

What a mess that great big snake left in Jasmine's and Cleopatra's bathroom ....  they were really upset about not being allowed in while it was all being fixed and cleaned up.
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

And the propane truck came to fill the tank and the big bad man wants $627 from me ..... I showed him my empty pockets and he said bad things ..... I did convince him to fill it up so we don't freeze to death ..... did you know there was ICE in everything this morning ..... evil weather hooman has struck again ..... it's COLD .... 35 and cloudy and a little windy .... BRRRRRRR cold right thru my fur ......

I need your help please ..... gotta pay for that propane, the hot water heater and the potty ..... Please .... don't have that second donut ..... please give it to me ..... ok ok ok ... mom says I'm to ask you to make a donation for the cost of that donut to help me pay the bills ...... pleaz ???
                                                                                           photo compliments of da Hooman    .... thank you, Opie

And then the water in the tank in the toilet in mum's personal quarters just started pouring and wouldn't stop !!!!   And SHE says I have to put on my Plumbers Hat and go to Lowes for parts ..... the innards of a potty have to be fixed .... I said just fill your potty up with cat litter .... that's what YOU do with mine ...... and you know what SHE said? SHE said, "Opie, you want to be a plumbercat and eat fancy feast or you wanna be a hungry cat."

Seriously .... life just ain't fair round here. I have to do ALL the work .....

Well ok, maybe not ALL .... cus Papa Doug and Uncle Clarence worked on the other potty but it had a big snake ....  

                                                                                            photo compliments of Melissa Felts
Bridgette and Elsinore at our Thrift Store, Re-Tail in Fredericksburg, heard about all the water problems today and decided to help out.

                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

And even while all the excitement and disasters was going on .....  everybody had to still get fed and cleaned up
                                                                                           photo compliments of Catina Tomapat
No excuses hooman .... none ....  breakfast will not be late. 

Thank you for the donations to fill our bowls !!!!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

The ducks and geese could use some new swimming pools
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
See the big hole?  their plastic pools have had a hard time with this winter's frigid weather.   These are kid's sandboxes, they hold up a lot better than the plastic pools cus they are sturdier plastic.  If you see any at yard sales or thrift shops, please pick them up for us!!!! 

Hey Goliath, can you help me with my campaign?
                                                                                           photo compliments of Catina Tomapat
I'm worried Opie will win Cats vs Dogs again this year.  I need some expert advice.  Obie

Goliath: Sure Opie, sure, I'll be happy to help you out, gee wouldn't it be great to have a dawg in charge .  Bet you wouldn't worry as much about fattening us up on Fancy Feast as Opie does, huh?

Mmm seeds and bugs !!!!   What more can you possibly ask for ?
                                                                                           photo compliments of Catina Tomapat

Chevy being a camouflage kitty !!! 
                                                                                           photo compliments of Catina Tomapat

                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
It's not just cats and dogs who have to check what the other guy got to eat to see if it's better than their's!!!

Moooootiful eyes !!!!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
You often hear about the beautiful soulful eyes of cows.  It's so true.  You just melt looking into their eyes.  How can anyone who's looked into the eyes of a cow even think about eating one? 

Uncle Paul loves the color of this goat's eyes. 
                                                                                            photo compliments of Paul Erhard
They are unusual, aren't they?  And look now nicely he posed nicely for his close up.

Freddy ...... 
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
his dream is to grow up just like Garfield his hero !!!!!!

Isn't this guy in the photos everyday?
                                                                                           photo compliments of Catina Tomapat
Show off !!!!!

Caturday brings out the volunteers too !!!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal
Rob volunteering his time helping to scoop kitty poop ....  look at all those bags he collecting !!!!   It's a big job and Clarence is thankful to have Rob's help today.

Uncle Ron studying what the Wishing Well needs to get it in beautiful shape.
                                                                                            photo compliments of Clarence Deal

REMEMBER ----   come out on Saturdays from 9 - 4 and help us paint and fix up the wooden fence at the Life Center !!   As long as the weather is dry and until the fence is painted all the way from route 20 to the Life Center ... that whole half mile ...  we'll be waiting for YOU to show up on SATURDAYS!!!!

Uncle Ron is in charge of signs !!!! 
                                                                                            photo compliments of Paul Erhard
Thank you Uncle Ron .... what a lovely job !!!!   We all love your colors !!!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Paul Erhard

Uncle Paul and Uncle Ron started work on the fence, trimming back bushes
                                                                                            photo compliments of Paul Erhard
and replacing rotting parts of fencing.

WOW that was a lot all in one day !!!!!

What a day !!!!!

But now I have on my Success-A-Cat hat !!!!!!  Aren't your proud of me? I wented to Lowes all by my self .... I took the goat cart all by myself .... and I found the part I needed .... the stoopid guy only yelled at me once for climbing up the shelves to get it off .... I said Hisssssss and showed him my teeth and he went away .......

The hardest part of all was using that self serve check out thing .... it kept saying take the extra item out of your bag .... and then a light flashed and then a lady came and said ..... hey little orange dude ... you can't stand on that when you try to ring stuff up cus it's weighing what you put in your bag and now it's way way way heavy for toilet innards ......

When I told her I had to be up there cus I couldn't reach she held me up to do the card thing ..... then I gotted home and I fixed the innards so now the toilet don't leak no more so running water all the time won't wear out the well pump !!!!!  

Don't YOU think I'm a really really smart cat and I deserve lots of Fancy Feast?

I'm hungry !!!!!    I can have snack pleaz ?
                                                                                           photo compliments of Catina Tomapat

Love, Opie 
Thank YOU for making it all possible !

March 9, 2018

March 9, 2018 -  Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
Rise n Shine  .....  it's breakfast time at Rikki's !!!!

Mouky helping with the laundry
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Waiting for a refill ....
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

How dare you hooman!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
How can YOU possibly accuse me of cheating on my diet?  ME?   What kind of bunk has gotten into your little head?   ------  Big Head the cat, who came in as a 30 pounder two years ago, with fiv, leukemia and heart problems, and who has been doing very well on our leukemia management program and, as much as he hates it, a weight reduction and exercise program. 

Who's the mostest beautiful of all ?
                                                                                            photo compliments of Katie Terrill

Turn up your volume and listen to him rustle his reathers
                                                                                           video compliments of Katie Terrill
the sound effects are as important as how high and far he can spread those colorful feathers!!

Come on Lauren, let go to the doggy nums store, we're almost out  !!!!!
                                                                                            photo compliments of Lauren Todd

                                                                                           photo compliments of some hooman
1500-3000 pounds of dog food that we can definitely use is being offered to us - if we can get someone (or two) with a pickup (or two) - or flatbed - to drive to Harrisonburg and get this donation for us and bring back to Rikki's on TUESDAY, 3/13. Must be done Tuesday and we're still waiting for specific location and time.  Please anyone???   Cuz Obie isn't very good about reading his email, please reply to mom at or on private message

Timmy just can't resist a good tail
                                                                                           video compliments of Opie
he'd been playing with Outdoor's tail for a good 5 minutes before I grabbed the camera and started recording so of course that's going to be about the time it ends BUT watch till the end and see how fast Timmy can scoot  !!!!

Love, Opie 
Thank YOU for making it all possible !

March 8, 2018

March 8, 2018 -  Opie's Diary of Daily Doings at Rikki's Refuge
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal
It's a beautiful day ....  alternating bright sunshine and cloud cover ....  making for wonderful cloud photos.  

Sorry about my photos today, we've had some kind of technical glitch and the usually good quality didn't come thru ....  we've spent far too much time trying to figure out what's happening and have to get to work ....  so this is the  best I can do today  ....  We'll try to get things fixed tonight so our photos tomorrow come out crisp and clear !!! 

Brayyyyyy ....   Honk honk .....   neighhhhhh  ......   the sounds of Rikki's !!!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Mooooo Moooooooo
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Bheeeeeehhhh Bheeeeeehhhh
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Breakfast time !!!!!
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

In the Fredericksburg Freelance Star and in lots of other places across the nation !!!
                                                                                           photo compliments of FLS

Peepers the emu, resident kleptomaniac at Rikki's Refuge in Orange, stars in new National Geographic book

Peepers, an emu with a penchant for stealing shiny jewelry, eats a broccoli snack at Rikki's Refuge in Orange.

Peepers, a 6-foot-tall emu who resides in Emu Estates at Rikki’s Refuge Animal Sanctuary in Orange County, loves nibbling broccoli florets, racing with his emu friends—and stealing jewelry off people.

Visitors to the enclosure where he lives are cautioned not to wear anything shiny, because the bird will nab it. He’s snatched glasses off faces and barrettes out of hair. He’s attempted to pull earrings out of ears and necklaces from necks—on one occasion pulling the necklace-wearer along behind him.

He stole the wire cutters, pliers, screwdrivers and hammer of a handyman who came to fix the fence on his enclosure and pinched a gold money clip right out of another visitor’s pocket.

“He’s just a thief,” said local author Candice Ransom, who wrote about Peepers and his antics in a new National Geographic Kids book, “Terrier Trouble! And More True Stories of Animals Behaving Badly.”

Ransom will sign copies of the book at Re-Tail, a thrift store benefiting Rikki’s Refuge, on March 24. There will be emu-related door prizes and giveaways and coloring pages and stickers for kids.

Ransom said that when National Geographic asked her to do the book, she immediately thought of Rikki’s Refuge.

“I had never been there, but I thought, ‘That place must have a million stories,’ ” she said.

She contacted Lolly Busey, the volunteer in charge of leading tours of the sanctuary. Busey confirmed that there were definitely mischievous animals at Rikki’s Refuge—in particular, Peepers, the kleptomaniac emu.

“I was intrigued right away,” Ransom said. “I was expecting they would tell me about some naughty goats, but this was different. It’s not every day you see an emu, and one who’s a pickpocket at that!”

Ransom said Peepers was well-behaved when she met him last summer, but she had been warned not to wear anything sparkling. She tossed him vanilla wafers, which he caught in midair.

She said she researched Peepers’ thieving behavior and came up with a few reasons for it.

“In reality, these birds would swallow these things to help break up some of the food they eat, in place of a gizzard,” she said. “But they also do it to get people to play with them. They want to run. They like the thrill of the chase.”

Emus are large, flightless birds, native to Australia and related to ostriches. Peepers and his sister, Phoebe, were hatched as part of a school project in Manasass, but the baby emus were going to grow to be 6 feet tall and they needed a new home.

They went to live at Rikki’s, which eventually ended up with 10 emus. One was found wandering the roads of Orange County.

“People raise them for emu oil,” Busey said. The oil is made from fatty deposits below the birds’ skin and is said to have moisturizing and anti-inflammatory properties.

At Rikki’s Refuge, the birds live as kings and queens of Emu Estates, along with their friends, the potbellied pigs. They are among the 22 animal species—close to 1,300 animals in total—who live at the 450-acre animal sanctuary.

The organization celebrates its 20th anniversary this year.

“Adoption is not our goal,” said Melissa Felts, Re-Tail manager and a 10-year volunteer at Rikki’s. “Life care is our goal.”

Animals come to Rikki’s from all over the world. Many of them are differently abled, such as a cat born without hind legs and a dog born with undeveloped eyes.

The dog, a Dobermann named Duke, was Rikki’s spokes-animal for many years.

“People would meet him and think ‘Oh, poor thing,’ ” Felts said. “His response was, ‘Knock that off! I’m a dog.’ He taught people to treat animals who are different—and people who are different—just like anyone else.”

Felts said animals regularly outlive their estimated lifespans at Rikki’s.

“I used to volunteer at the SPCA and people would often leave there sad, thinking, ‘Oh, I wish I could take this animal home,’ ” she said. “People always leave Rikki’s happy because there, the animals are home.”

Ransom ended up dedicating her book to the staff and volunteers of Rikki’s and its founder, Kerry Hilliard.

Busey has been volunteering at the sanctuary for four years and now serves on the board and is in charge of social media and tours of the property.

“You can’t work or volunteer there and not fall in love,” she said. “I think Rikki’s is magical. Any time I can share the love, I do it.”

March 24 from 10 am - 2 pm
Author Candice Ransom and Kerry Hilliard will be there to sign your copy of Peepers' book !!!
So will Opie and Obie for Meet and Greet and Eat .... be sure to bring treats !!!!   
We'll be kicking off Cats vs Dogs ....  so come on in and cast YOUR vote !!!

The Book Signing and Celebration will be at our Thrift Store.  AND everything in the store will discounted 33% .....  and you just bring me 10 cans of cat food (or more) and you get another 20% off !!!!  That's right, you just tell 'em Opie said so.  Really truly, it's all approved.  20% any day all day every purchase when you donate 10 cans or more of cat food !!!!

Clouds over Bovine Boulevard
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Clouds over Rikki's
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

South past Doggy Downs and over looking eastern Piggy Paradise
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

The 9th Life Assisted Living, Retirement and Psychiatric Building
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

North past the Office Trailers towards Rainbow Bridge Cemetery
                                                                                           photo compliments of Doug Deal

Ya all be sure to come on out for Donation Drop off TOMORROW .... Caturday .... noon till 2 pm .... gates will be open at the Life Center ....  21410 Constitution Hwy, Rapidan ....  That's at the corner of rt 20 and Quarterhorse Ln ....  turn onto Quarterhorse and immediately left into our gate !!! 

And remember ... NEXT CATURDAY .... we start the fence painting .... so be there from 9 till 4 and help us make Rikki's bright and beautiful !!!

And here's the other fun things coming up !!!
Save the Date and Sign The Kids Up Early!

Space is VERY limited, RSVP now

                                                                                            photo compliments of Lolly Busey
Get up close and personal with our amazing residents at Rikki's Refuge! For tour information and upcoming available dates, email us at  You must have reservations!

Love, Opie 
Thank YOU for making it all possible !