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Rikki’s Refuge is a no-kill life-care facility so we handle animals other organizations can’t or won’t.  We specialize in feral cats, cats with FIV or Leukemia virus, elderly animals, differently-abled animals, animals with chronic health issues like diabetics, and farm animals that were once pets to keep them from entering the production market, i.e. being slaughtered.

In the last few weeks we’ve been involved in helping to clean up six horrendous situations in four different counties.  Four have been  situations with feral cats and cats with other issues making them difficult to adopt out.  These cats would have been killed if we were unable to immediately step in and help them.

KITTENS - new batch 9-30-15 #1

vint hill ferals 10feral kittens GFM update 1

This has resulted in an influx of 70 cats.  Far more than we’ve ever taken in at one time.  And a huge expense beyond our current available funds.  We’ve had some donations coming in but are still in dire need of at least an additional $7,500 before these cats will be finished with their quarantine, vetting, vaccinations, and so forth and are able to merge with our populations in our various cat houses in Feline Fields.

vint hill ferals 9

One guy (semi-feral older kitty) named Chance, who had only been with us two days, required an emergency hospital visit late last Saturday night.  Some people think we are nuts to save the life of such animals.

We think everyone deserves life.  And if a repair bill will fix them up….than by God, we will get the repair done!!  He’s back with us in our little hospital unit and doing very well now and, I believe, quite thankful we thought his life worth saving.

In addition to the four cat situations, we rescued 68 ducks from a backyard butcher who had been shut down and had moved on, leaving the poor ducks abandoned with no food or water.  They were in terrible shape when we were alerted and given authorization to catch them. Several needed hospitalization.

DSCN1418-a I am so very happy to say that ALL the ducks have been healed now and are happy and quacking around our duck yard!!  One kind donor bought a big pool for them, a couple of others have been helping with feed.



We still need at least $450 in materials to finish up the fencing for their new habitat.


The most recent situation involved only three baby pigs.  Mama and Daddy pig were being killed for someone’s Thanksgiving dinner.  They wanted to get rid of the five still suckling pigs.  They went to their local pound asking if they could dump them.  Unable to house them, the pound called us and we agreed to take them.  We also urged them to convince the owners to relinquish Mama and Daddy pig so this loving family would not be split up.  We even had donors offering to pay to save their lives.  Sadly, these offers were rejected.

When the owners went to catch the babies to take back into the pound, one escaped and vanished into the woods.  They have promised to call if he came back.  So far, no luck, and he had little chance on his own as such a little baby.  Another was adopted by someone.  So the three little piggies came to Rikki’s Refuge.  The first few days they needed a bottle, then they learned to drink from a bowl, and just yesterday they started eating a little food on their own.

piglet nosepiglet in crate 11-21-15


They are still so frightened and scared.  These poor babies and all they have been through in their few short weeks of life.  I’m so thankful we can make the rest of their lives happy and safe.  When they are big enough and have been neutered, they will join our big happy pig family in Piggy Paradise.


Rikki’s Refuge is on 450 acres in Orange County, Virginia and houses 1300 animals of 22 species on any given day.  Most of our residents will be here for life in one of the many specialized neighborhoods: Feline Fields, Piggy Paradise, Doggy Downs, Bovine Boulevard, Ducky Downs, Chicken City…

A few will be adopted out … but not that many people are looking to adopt a three-legged, blind, incontinent beagle who enjoys his life of eating, sunning, playing with other dogs and cats and getting lots of belly rubs!

Caring for 1300 residents costs us ONLY about $1,500 a DAY … this might sound like a huge number, but when you do the math, you will see it’s pretty amazing.  How many people can care for their own animals on that little per animal?

We have a full staff – and we are hiring, too – so if anyone out there wants a job working outside and helping to clean up literally hundreds and hundreds of pounds of poop every day … call us at 540-395-3339 … sadly, it’s high turnover this time of year when cold weather is coming.  That number is for employment only and tells you where to come for Saturday interviews.

We are able to do so much on so little because of the wonderful volunteers who not only contribute their labor and donate a lot of supplies, but who are able to arrange huge bulk purchases of food that make it quite inexpensive.

We use about 24 cases of canned cat food A DAY and about 85 pounds of dry.  The pantry is BARE and we are making it on day to day donations right now.

The hay bill is $800 a WEEK in the winter time.

The ducks and other fowl are eating about $30 a day in feed.

The quantity of supplies needed are staggering!!

Yet still, year after year, things get nicer and better here at Rikki’s Refuge!!  THANK YOU my awesome volunteers, donors, and sponsors!!

And yes, we need YOUR donation too!!

Phone: 540-854-0870, #1

Email: Rikki@RikkisRefuge.org

Donate: www.RikkisRefuge.org/Donate

Mail:    Rikki’s Refuge. PO Box 1357, Orange, VA 22960


And if anyone would like a tour, inquire at Tours@RikkisRefuge.org

Please VOTE and SHARE for Rikki’s Refuge every day through December 20 in the Shelter Challenge.  VOTE HERE:  www.shelterchallenge.bigbig.com

Thank you from,

Kerry Hilliard

CEO (Chief Excrement Officer) of Rikki’s Refuge … our motto around here is … you poop it, we scoop it … ‘cus that’s the biggest, most time-consuming part of animal care, keeping them all sanitized for their own protection!

See our video on NBC29 Charlottesville




Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RikkisRefuge

Twitter:      https://twitter.com/rikkisrefuge

Pinterest:  https://twitter.com/rikkisrefuge



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We turn your donations of household items, furniture, art work, jewelry, and clothing into food and care for the animals!!


Compassionate ThanksLiving Potluck Celebration 2015

Compassionate ThanksLiving Potluck Celebration
Saturday, November 21, 2015
3:00PM Gather, Appetizers
5:00pm Main Vegetarian/Vegan Feast
$25 Donation and/or Vegan/Vegetarian Potluck Dish To Share

Compassionate ThanksLiving Potluck Celebration 2015

Last year we had a visit from Ellie the turkey, as well as our world famous Opie L. Cat and Sylvestra and the other resident cats at the Life Center.  You never know who will show up at this celebration!  

RIKKIS - Ellie the Turkey

RIKKIS - Ellie Turkey Kitty LitterAture 3 RIKKIS - Ellie Turkey Kitty LitterAture 2

7th Annual Rikki’s Refuge 5K Run/Walk – Saturday November 7, 2015

7th Annual Rikki's Refuge 5K Run-Walk 11-7-15RACE INFORMATION

WHEN:   Saturday, November 7, 2015

TIME:  Registration 7:00am-8:30am,  Race Time 9:00am

WHERE:   Lake Anna State Park, 6800 Lawyers Road,  Spotsylvania, VA  22551

FEES:   $25.00 ($30 on race day), we will also be collecting donations of pet food and/or supplies

Race will be run rain or shine!

For online registration and payment, click on the *REGISTER HERE* button below.  It will take you to a sign up page where you will be able to register and pay for the race via PayPal in one spot.

Entry forms can also be picked up in person at:  VA Runner, Ed’s Awards and Engraving, Giant Food on 208 and Harrisons Crossings.  Checks can be made out to:  Rikki’s Refuge.

AWARDS: Top male and female finishers and top 3 in each age group (19-under, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 and up. Team award for the team with the most runners and walkers.

Prize drawings after race.

Come join us this year on this ALL NEW COURSE with two miles of scenic roads and one mile of runner friendly trails.

Check out this map of the beautiful Lake Anna State Park with the race route highlighted. RaceRoute

*NOTE:  If you are participating in the race, you will NOT have to pay parking at Lake Anna State Park.

For more information or if you have any questions, please email bugbane30@gmail.com.

**THANK YOU SO MUCH to our amazing sponsors, including:

360 Farm and Harvest

Patterson’s Construction

Ed’s Awards & Engraving

VA Runner

Lake Anna State Park

Giant Food Stores

Meadows Nursery

The REACH Program

Dr. Patrick Caiafa

RACE - click here to register

*** Your entry fee goes directly to help the almost 1300 animals (of 22 different species) including but not limited to cats, dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, cows, emus, chickens, ducks, peacocks and more at Rikki’s Refuge.  Rikki’s Refuge in Orange County, Virginia, is a 400 acre, no-kill, all species peaceful sanctuary supported solely by donations of kind and loving individuals.  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.


 MUST LOVE PETS Art Show & Benefit for Rikki’s Refuge 

RIKKIS - Must Love Pets Art Show July 11, 2015


360 Farm and Pet and Local Artists invite you to a fun filled Evening of Live Music, Hors d’oeuvres, Giveaways and Special Pricing. There will also be a meet and greet with the world famous spokes-animals, Opie and Duke from Rikki’s Refuge!

Ever want to get a painting of your dog or cat, horse, bunny? 
Wanting a Professional photo portrait done of your beloved pet(s)? Well look no further and come by 360 Farm and Pet on July 11th and meet a local artist who can meet your needs.

Local Artists will be present with examples of their work and styles, helping you decide what the best fit for your needs are and getting you started. We will have painters, jewelry makers, and photographers.

All participating Artist will be donating a piece of their artwork to a Silent Auction, that will be going on throughout the event. All proceeds from the silent auction will go to Rikki’s Refuge Animal Sanctuary.

Come out for a evening of FUN! bring your children, your dogs(as long as they are friendly) and enjoy some beautiful artwork, music, and food!  

Any questions, please email us at events@rikkisrefuge.org

Timmy’s Birthday Message

1453291_10152793626467391_708930772608306851_nHi, I’m Timmy. I’m Opie’s older brother, but I get ignored a lot. I’m not famous like Opie. I hide under the couch, under the desk, behind the door. I’m scared of anything strange. YOU aren’t strange, are you? The world is very scary. When I was a baby I was riding with somebody in a car. I wasn’t scared then. But they tossed me out the window. Ouch. I was hurt real bad, and that’s when I started to be scared. I was all scraped up. My back legs were hurt and twisted. I can’t walk very well on them. But I sure can scoot around !!! I do love to play with my kitty friends, and I can climb just as high as they can by pulling with my front feet.
When they found me after the car accident, some people tried to heal me. And my cuts went away and my fur grew back. But my legs didn’t get as good as they wanted … so they wanted to kill me … and I got more scared … kill me ? Like make me dead? Why? They said nobody would want a kitty who couldn’t walk just like everybody else. I was so scared. Would they throw me out the car again to kill me? Was it going to hurt just as bad again?
Then almost four years ago I came to Rikki’s Refuge. I was so scared in the long car ride. I was so scared I’d go out that window again. I huddled down and hid my head. Somebody held me tight and whispered it’d be ok. OK? Ok what? to be killed, to be tossed out the window and hit that hard road and have my legs broken and my fur torn off? Would anything ever be ok for me?
And when we arrived at Rikki’s Refuge, I met Vincent. He was really nice to me. He explained about being differently abled, and he told me I could work with him. WORK with him!! Nobody here at Rikki’s Refuge wanted to kill me !! They all loved me just for who I was. I got lots of physical therapy and I got to getting around better and better. Vincent adopted me and became my daddy. He’d been in a car accident when he was a young kitty too and he’d lost a leg. We scooted around just alike!!
I’d only been there a few weeks when Opie came. you see I was there first …. but he got to be more famous. He’s always running out to meet strangers. Opie was born with no back feet. Vincent taught him how to get around too. We all used to have fun together. Be so happy together. Yeahh we were happy.
But before me and Opie were even one year old, daddy Vincent died. He’d had kidney problems and he went to the rainbow bridge, and he left me and Opie in charge. And now we do the best we can running Rikki’s. And we teach humane education. That scares me lots though, so I don’t go out to schools anymore. I tried to get used to riding in a car to go visit kids at schools, but it was so scary. I just can’t get that terror of laying in the road, all helpless, waiting for another car to come and run me over and squish me flat. I know mom says I’m safe in my car seat. But I just can’t get used to it.
And new people scare me too. What if one of them didn’t like me cuz of my legs and wanted to kill me? So I like to stay home and play with my sibs here at Rikki’s Refuge.
And I have a real sad. June 10th was my birthday. My great big number FOUR Birthday …. and nobody remembered. Nobody.
Opie promised to have a party for me but he forgot too. I guess I’m just so quiet and shy nobody would come to my party.
Would YOU come to my party? Would you bring a case of nums for me? I’ll share with all my friends. I’m not like Opie and all greedy and want to num it all up. I share. I’m very nice about that. Mom got me a case for $8.85 and says she will go out and get all the caese you want to bring to my party !!!! You just sign up for a case … or even half a case if that’s easier for you …. right here …. www.RikkisRefuge.org/FeedMe and be sure to comment that it’s for Timmy’s Birthday … and
Thank you very much for loving me,
because I love you whole lots,
…. scoots back under the couch to see who’ll come to his party ……







(For electronic donations, please note that your gift is for TIMMY’S BIRTHDAY! If you mail a donation, please write that it is for Timmy on the memo!)
1. TO DONATE: www.rikkisrefuge.org/feedme
2. PAYPAL: mail@rikkisrefuge.org
3. MAIL (check or money order): PO Box 1357, Orange VA. 22960
(You can also order food to be shipped directly to us if you prefer to give this way!)
4. AMAZON WISH LIST: http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/126FNLHBB9AGA/ref=topnav_lists_1
5. OPIE’S CORNER STORE: http://astore.amazon.com/wwwrikkisrefu-20
Thank you for helping Rikki’s Refuge and Timmy!