Welcome to Rikki's Refuge

A multi-species sanctuary for the medically and socially challenged,
          supported solely by donations from kind and generous people like you!

There's always something going on at Rikki's!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Good Morning Good News !!!! November 20, 2014

I just have to tell you a story from our first ThanksLiving Dinner in the 9th Life Center in 1999.  At that time only one room had much of a floor.  Did I mention when we got the place the fields were in corn,
Rikki’s First Sheep Escape

the front yard and barns were full of trash and appliances,

and the house was falling down? 

People would visit and say ... seriously .. YOU’re going to turn this dump into a SANCTUARY?   What kind of mess have you gotten yourself into? 
Do you have ANY idea how much HARD work this will take?  You’ll never make anything of this place. 

Well on that first ThanksLiving day the volunteers who’d made a vow to stick to it and to make a sanctuary happen had had just about a year of hard work, they’d cleared away all the garbage, dump truck after dump truck full, they hauled 32 rusted out busted refrigerators to the dump, they’d eaten a lot of corn cooked over a bon fire, they’d built a feral cat run,

Rikki’s First Family of Ferals

dog pens, a rabbit area and had fenced in a horse area for the skinny old horse found tied to the three legged picnic table that was our dining room. 

That first ThanksLiving dinner was in the evening, after dark, and after cold, cus we had to work all day caring for the animals
that were already calling Rikki’s home and so it was the “kitchen” which was for hoomans and animals,
where I had my desk,
we had a couch, a half functioning smoky wood stove for heat, cages for any sick animals, and the animals that came inside when they wanted, including Copper the horse, Claire the pig, Nanny the goat,
Babbs the sheep and Chuck the Rooster who’d occasionally like to squeeze in and cozy up to the wood stove. 
The next room over that had a very very sagging floor, very uneven, had blankets on the floor and was the cat room. 
The other two rooms had no floor and were unusable. 

Are you getting the idea of primitive?  There was probably 10 or 12 of us, including my Dad who loved working at Rikki's and would spend a month or two building things every year.  He and my mom had come for a visit, he'd stayed almost 3 months that year, sleeping with me and any others staying over in sleeping bags on the floor in that one room. 
My mom had visited often, but stayed in the Holiday Inn for a couple weeks, then gone home to her house with flush plumbing, and other such luxuries.  As much as she loved the animals, especially the cats, and for all the foreign and primitive places my dad’s work had her living, she was done with that.

That ThanksLiving dinner was probably most unsanitary by common hooman meal standards !!!  The most common phrase was, please pick up the cat and pass the dressing.  The delicious vegan dressing was in a big bowl with plastic wrap over it and Slinky the resident Chief Cat insisted on curling up and sleeping on that warm dressing. 
SLINKY, Rikki’s Original Kitty

Though the dressing really was fabulous, I think the driving force behind serving after serving was people loved watching Slinky being removed and then curling back up in the bowl and going back to sleep ... all while purring loudly.  

With most of the windows broken and clear tape over them, no insulation anywhere in the house, huge cracks in the floors and walls .... it didn't hold in a lot heat and was pretty chilly inside ...  the dressing was a really nice cozy bed.  Those of us who lived in sleeping bags on the floor only wished for something so warm. 
All our volunteer efforts had gone into building animal housing, there had been no time and not enough volunteers to bother worrying about “house” space yet.   By the time we hoomans got inside at night, we were totally exhausted and even a cold sleeping bag on a hard floor felt good for the few hours we wasted in sleep.  We had a sanctuary to build !!

The most remembered scene from that first ThanksLiving Dinner was when Slinky, after eating, if I recall, the vegan whipped cream off someone’s pumpkin pie, climbed to the top of the water heater that was also in that room, along with washer and dryer, and started gacking and did it right in one of Auggie's boots !!!!    

Auggie launched into a hysterical monologue complete with miming   
       .. with all this space 
              ....  in this entire place 
                          ...  and here comes this cat 

         ...  I got a twitch in my stomach 
                ...  I think I gotta gack 
                         ...  he looks around frantically 

            ...  no, not over there 
                  ... not on a floor that's bare 
                      ....  no, not where it's easy to clean 
                           ...  I want to find a place that's really mean 

          ....  where oh where shall I gack 
                    ....  WOW check out those boots !!!   

        But how tall they are 
             ....  how can I reach that high 
                 ... so I can gack up inside 

          ....   Ah I shall climb to the highest place 
                 ....  and pray that my aim is purrfect !!!!

All you have to say to anybody who was at that first Thanksliving dinner is "Auggie's Boots" and to this day they will go into a fit of hysterical laughter !!!

One person relatively new to animal rescue and who'd had volunteered a time or two on building projects, never been inside the totally falling down farm house,
that someday would be named the 9th Life Center, who hadn’t yet learned what really hard goal driven work to the point that nothing else mattered meant, had come dressed up like she was going to a formal dinner.  She immediately felt out of place with the rest of us in overalls and dirty jeans. 
She kept saying, Oh maybe I should go.  But she quickly fit in and had the time of her life.  Maybe more fun than all the rest of us !!   One of Slinky’s wives, Short Tail Mom, claimed her beautiful cashmere scarf and kept hauling it off to make a bed.  She gifted it to Short Tail at the end of the evening saying it was far better used as a cozy bed than a scrap to tie around her neck!   That volunteer is still a hard worker in the animal world today !!

This year’s ThanksLiving Dinner will be a far cry from that first one.  Though we will have critters about, Opie and Timmy and Sylvestra, Duke and Mr Turkey at the very least   .....  we now have the lovely Life Center.  The Life Center building is about 100 years newer than the 9th Life (which has had a lot of upgrades since those early days, so much so, that people who pop in like a blast from the past often ask, so you tore it down and built something new?), it has flush plumbing and a huge modern kitchen, central heat ....  Ohhh and a fireplace ... hey somebody ought to bring wood ,... or get out here and chop some ....  we’re yet to use the fireplace!!! 

ThanksLiving Dinner is Saturday, so this is it if you’re signing up to dine with us.  And if not, we pray you have a happy and safe for all species ThanksLiving Dinner where ever you are. 

Thank you for making Rikki’s what it’s become today. 
I knew together we would make that happen.  It’s taken a lot of faith from donors and a lot of hard work from volunteers. 
And just look where we are today!  1300 animals of 22 species who’ll never again know a cruel hand, hunger, or the feeling of being unloved and unwanted.

All because of YOU !!!!

Thank you !!!!   

I hope to see you this holiday season.  If you’re unable to stop in and visit with the animals you’ve built a home for, all these wonderful little furry and feathered friends who’s life you changed, would you please consider sharing what you are able with them?  www.RikkisRefuge.org/FeedMe 
It is only thru your continued support that we are able to carry on, to feed everyone, to care for them, to pay for their medical needs.  There is no government funding, no grants, no support from larger organizations, it’s all here, just you and me .... doing what we can to change the world and to give our wonderful animal residents the chance at life they deserve.

Thank you for helping us,


PS We always spend your funds very wisely and frugally.  We buy the basic necessities, we buy generic in bulk, volunteers drive many miles, donating the cost of gas, to get the best deals, we use day old produce, recently expired products, others left over construction materials and recycled products. 

We don’t need luxury, we don’t need the best ... we just want to save lives and create a world of happiness and contentedness.

When we can meet our basic needs, we are happy ... so very happy.

Thank YOU for making that happen.

PPS Ya all remember to vote now, ok?  Rikki's Refuge, VA, USA in the Shelter Challenge !!!  Win nums for animals with just a few clicks !!  http://www.shelterchallenge.com/web/charityusa/nomineehome?userId=53331&nomineeId=17448
It’s very important -- with the advent of on-line contests -- we’ve come to rely on the winnings for an important part of our funding.  So PLEASE click every day !!!

This is YOUR Rikki’s Refuge !!!

Please Join us Saturday as we Celebrate Life !!


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Good Morning Good News, November 19, 2014

Ok ... I been a bad cat .....   I been so busy eatin da Fancy Feast I haven't written to you about YOU coming for a feast !!!

This Saturday !!!!!

Nums will be at our Life Center ....   if you can come please RSVP my hooman Lolly at lollyb65@gmail.com ASAP .... we gots to get a head count so we know how much nums to make for you !!

Many of our animal friends will be at the feast with us ... just letting you know in case you'z allergic to any of us !!

I'll be at the feast --- would I miss a feast !!!  HA !!!   And my brofur Timmy and sisfur Sylvestra and we'll just have to see who else will come  ....

I think the cowas
will stay out and eat their pumpkins !!!   Just LOOK at all those pumpkins !!!  You pumpkin haulers were totally AWESOME this year !!!  Thank you ... you did good !!!! 

So, Iz got to get back to eatin my Fancy Feast here so I'll be fittin into my Santa suit real well ....  I hope to see you on Saturday !!  Be sure to let Lolly know if you can come !!!

And if you can't ....  but you wanna share ThanksLiving with me ....  you could maybe send me some nums ....  I might finish this plate of Fancy Feast before I fit in my suit real well !!


Ok, I promise to share with everybody and see that all my friends here .. furred or feathered ... get lots of nums for ThanksLiving !!


   Merow !!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Good Morning Good News !!!! November 2, 2014

Oh Hi !!  You caught me just having a snack !!  

Welcome to November on Planet Earth !!!   Isn’t the earth really pretty this time of year?  It gets all orangy, just like me !!!  The trees look like me !  The sun looks like me !  And mostest of all ... the pumpkins look like me !!!  

I was so scared the cows might think I was a pumpkin and gobble me up.  I’m orange and kind a round and sort look like a pumpkin.  But if they saw my tail and ears maybe they’d know I was a kitty and not a pumpkin.  I must be pretty awful to get eaten ... don’t you think?

Uhh scary thinking bout it ...  all chewed up and mushed up in somebody’s tummy and then pooped out in a litterbox ... ickk ....  I’m glad you hauled in those pumpkins so the cows didn’t eat me.  Please don’t eat me !!!  Ever ...  and please, this holiday season ... don’t eat my friends ... 

And so ....  all these trucks and ... all these vans .... and all these suvs .... and even all kinds of little cars ... kept rolling in, more and more and more.... and they all had pumpkins for the critters !!!!!   

It makes all the animals so happy to get pumpkins.  Well everybody but me and Duke and our kind.  We’re not so much on the pumpkins.  But look .....

Rikki’s now has Official Poster Cat for Pumpkins !!!!

Lots and lots of our critters are very happy today numming away on pumpkins !!!

And that’s all cus of YOU !!!!!

Thank you my HEROES !!!!!!

Now I want to tell you a cool story
about pumpkins and a guy named Rob.

If you were with Rikki’s before 2007 I’m sure you remember Rob.  He went to be with our friends at Rainbow Bridge just a months after the 2006 pumpkin run.  He was a big pumpkin hauler of the best kind.  Rob had a great big truck and a great big trailer and he and Joe would do run after run, bringing in pumpkins to the animals.

Well this year friends of his family helped haul pumpkins in his honor ....  and while they were doing that his sister Carole was putting up No Hunting /Trespassing signs around the family’s property.  Since she’d had a couple encounters with hunters she went to put on Rob’s bright reflective slicker so she’d be safe.  She reached into the pocket and found a folded up packet of papers.  It was the minutes for a Rikki’s Refuge Board of Directors meeting - including a report on Pumpkin Picking Oct. 31, 2006 with Rob having his trailer to get pumpkins from Richmond.  The report was about Rob and Joe working on the nature trails in the woods and color coding them with stencils to paint.  

Rob’s mom wrote last night, “How crazy is that?  Here my friends are...at Rikki's doing pumpkins...and Carole is in the woods in his jacket marking property.  It was one of those 'moments'!”

And as sure as I know I’m orange, I know it was Rob letting us know that our friends at the Bridge are watching out for us !!! 

Waves to Rob .....   we love you dude !!!   

Donation Dynamo Award !!!

Has to go to Bill Isen this week.    Did you know that every Saturday from noon till 2 pm Rikki’s Life Center is open for Donation Drop off.  The gates are open and you can just walk - or ride - on in and drop off any needed supplies for the refuge or for Re-Tail the store. 

We especially need bleach, laundry detergent and paper towels right now. 

Keeping every last nook and cranny at Rikki’s sanitized for the critter’s protection is a huge job.  It takes a lot of supplies and a lot of labor.  A whole lot !!!  You should see the mess 1300 animals creatively make every day !!

We’ve been working hard to get Rikki’s finances back in the black before winter.  Expenses go up in winter, more feed, straw, hay, propane ....  it all adds up.  If we don’t start with a clean slate, we’ll never get thru the winter. 

If you’d like to help .. you can stop in at Donation Drop off and drop a donation off in the nice big donation box ...  checks, cash, and even instructions for making a donation from your credit card will fit in that box !!

And you can bring bleach and cleaning things and food ... yes FOOD ... I love it when you bring FOOD ....!!!!

And so my Uncle Bill dropped in and guess what !!!!    He made a really nice, really big donation to help us keep Rikki’s Sanitized !!!!  Isn’t that nice !!!   I think he wins the Donation Dynamo Award for this week for his great big huge help !!

Thank you Bill !!!!

WHO sill be the Donation Dynamo next Saturday .....  will it be YOUR picture here ???

Did you know you could be a docent?
Do you know what a docent does?  A docent is there during Donation Drop off to greet folks, to let them meet me and which ever kitties are at the Life Center that day -- this week it was me and Timmy and Hairy Toes and Yetti and Rose and Calvin .... and Raleigh .. but you’re not allowed to meet her unless you sign the extra long heavy duty liability waiver about kitties who are sometimes a bit psycho .... 

This is me and Timmy talkin to Lolly who’s our docent lots of times !!!

and Calvin too

Just ask me how you can join us on Saturday and be a Docent !!!

Maybe YOU can drop off some much needed supplies ...  or money to pay the bills NEXT Saturday and YOU can be the Donation Dynamo of the week !!!!

Or if you can’t, you can help me right here ... just click ...  www.RikkisRefuge.org/Donate  

Though pumpkin hauling isn’t officially Donation Drop Off ....  it is really good donations ...  So I just have to include Fred Friedman and Nora Eldridge who did the coordinating this year.  And that’s not an easy job.  Fred did the Northern Virginia area and Nora our Southern Tier around Spotsylvania.  It’s lots and lots of phone calls and emails rounding up the places that will give us pumpkins and then more begging and scheduling and begging and phone calling and begging and emailing and begging to get people to show up at scheduled times with vehicles and to load and to drive to Rikki’s !!!

When you see the trucks full of pumpkins rolling thru the gate -- you think it’s an easy simple thing ...  but when you know what goes on behind the scenes ... it’s a whole lot of work. 

A special THANK YOU to Cindy Wright who flew all the way from Colorado and rented a truck for the weekend to haul pumpkins !!!  Way to go ... now if that don’t show dedication !!!!   

I don’t think a Rikki’s soul thinks of hualing pumpkins without thinking of our Pumpkin Princess Candy.  Candy always brought out the first load of the year !!!  And many many loads there after.  For several years she coordinated the pumpkin runs as well and helped to load and to haul.  She’d borrow her friends big blue pick up truck, named Blue Dog, fill it full, and drive it down ... then head back for more.  

Candy left us to go to Rainbow Bridge in October of 2011.  I know she’s up there giving a push to folks to load up just one more truck full !!!

We miss you Candy ... we’ll always love you !!!

I haven’t heard a report in on our run yet .....
I wanted to go scoot along with GGP at Rikki’s 5K Run/Walk/Scoot yesterday  .....   I so sorry we missed getting there ...

Thank you Dennis and Crystal Bane for working hard for many months to put Rikki’s 5K Run/Wal together !!  I can’t wait to hear about it and see the photos !!

Pumpkins are showing up EVERY WHERE
even at Re-Tail our thrift shop.

If you haven’t checked out this fabulous shop yet -- then get on down to Fredericksburg.  Re-Tail is located at 3503 Lafayette Blvd, on the Spotsylvania side.  It’s a HUGE building and there is SO much really cool stuff.  It’s a thrift shop, but you won’t believe the quality of so many donations.  Even some stores give us things !!!  So check it out !!! 

The Christmas section is OPEN.

AND we are now selling GIFT CARDS to Re-Tail ...  what a fabulous stocking stuffer for all your friends !!

Don’t miss Claudia and her friends in our adoption room at Re-Tail too !!!!

Claudia’s colors will match anyone’s holiday decor !!

You can drop off donations at the shop or at the Life Center during Donation Drop Off .....  it’s TIME to clean out and make room for your Christmas Gifts NOW ....   been planning on re-gifting that what-ch-ma-call it ??  Now’s the time to do it!  Watch our store manager Melissa magically turn your donations of gently used items into needed nums and supplies for the animals ...
... just like that !!!!

Would you take a moment to vote in the shelter challenge ?
It’s free, it’s easy, and we need your vote every day.  The prize is $1,000 to the winning shelter.  Prize money has become an important part of Rikki’s funding ... and we need YOU to make that happen !!!
So please take a second to VOTE for
Click on Opie’s nose and enter
Rikki’s Refuge, VA, USA

... with your support we’ve been able to save so many animals ... it’s only with your continued support that we can continue to care for them each and every day ....  Thank you for your kind and generous support for food, medicine, doctors, cleaning supplies ... and love !!

Without YOU

none of us would be here

watchin the pumpkins come in !!

THANK YOU !!!!!!
Your donations saved every one of us and will keep us all alive as we stock our pantries for another winter at Rikki’s Refuge  !!!!   Take the Opie Pledge and promise to work each and every day to make the planet just a little bit better.  If the pictures of the animals you have saved in this issue have made you smile, please take a few moments to make a donation so we can keep them smiling!!!  www.RikkisRefuge.org/FeedMe 


Join us on
Facebook:         www.facebook.com/RikkisRefuge\
Rikki’s Web Site: www.rikkisrefuge.org
Blog:             www.rikkisrefuge.blogspot.com/
Help the Animals: www.rikkisrefuge.org/FeedMe
Re-Tail:          www.facebook.com/ReTail.org
   our thrift store
   Location:  3503 Lafayette Blvd, Fredericksburg VA 22408  
   Phone:     540-891-5300
   Hours:     10 am - 6 pm Monday - Saturday
              noon - 5 pm - Sunday