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Help us to Help You
happy helpers   COME AND LEND A HAND

Rikki’s Refuge is a unique place, with over 1,200 animals, supported by many volunteers. 

Usually the first thing volunteers ask about is working directly with the animals, such as dog walking or petting the cats.  These types of activities are available, but we want you to understand that most of our critters are special needs creatures and working with them is not the same as working with your own pets. 

Remember too that all our animals need to be fed, housed and cleaned up after, besides being petted, so we especially appreciate flexible, hard working folks who will pitch in where needed and don’t mind cleaning litter boxes or washing pet bowls when those things need to be done. 

For the safety of our volunteers and of the animals, new volunteers must work with an experienced volunteer until they become a “certified self-service volunteer.”  This means that they have spent enough time at the refuge to know what a particular job entails; how to find tools and materials and how to work with the animals.  Such a volunteer can work on his/her own without detracting from the staff’s time.  Such a volunteer can come and go on his/her own schedule.  This may be someone who assists the staff or handles his/her own project.  The determination as to when a volunteer reaches this point is made on a case by case basis.  Factors considered are responsibility, reliability, ability to follow directions, etc.   You don’t have to intend to become certified; you can come sporadically and work with an experienced volunteer.

Please realize that Rikki’s is largely a farm (vs. an urban animal shelter) and most of this work is outdoors with all the resulting dirt, heat/cold and bugs that outdoor work encompasses.  Be kind to your feet – you will be doing a lot of walking, so wear comfortable, closed toe shoes.  Please, no flip-flops or sandals.  Remember that our “facilities” are limited.  Our restroom is a port-a-potty (although it’s cleaner than most) and we don’t have kitchen facilities.  If bringing your lunch, have your own cold pack and insulated container.  The BP station up the road has hot food items and the usual munchies.

     Are you under 18?  Parents must give permission and sign a waiver of liability for children under the age of 18 to be on the property.   We want parents to be comfortable with what their kids will be doing here, so we ask parents to participate during their children’s first volunteer experience.  Based on the age and maturity of the child, he/she may be able to subsequently work without the parent on site.  Please e-mail to get further information for children under the age of 18.  Also contact her for scout and other youth group information.


What's the next step?

Following is a partial listing of the types of activities for which we need volunteers.  Your visit must be pre-arranged until you get certified.  If you don’t have e-mail, call the Refuge at 540-854-0870 and leave your call back info on extension 2.

Rikki's Refuge Volunteer categories (feel free to do them all!):

Boot Campers – for those stalwart folks who can be at the refuge by 8am any Wednesday through Sunday and are willing to work for at least half a day.  You must pre-arrange this. 

Super Scrubbers – help wash pet food bowls, cat litter trays, storage totes, animal carriers etc.  You will get wet.  Help us conquer “Mt. Dishmore”, as we call our sink full of animal bowls.

Cat Concierges – our 600 + cats demand a lot!  Help scoop litter trays and pick up the deposits of the outdoor poopers.  Help feed canned cat food as necessary.  Pet the friendly furries in cat run number 6.  Bed the cat houses for winter.

Doggie Dynamos– clean up dog pens and walk dogs.  Bed dog houses in winter.

Have-a-Hammers – lots of repair work to be done – as big a project as replacing a trailer floor, or just banging in loose nails as needed

Bunny Boosters – rake out rabbit area, keep shelters therein bedded as necessary

Grounds Gang – mow, mow, mow the lawn and whack the weeds during the growing season.  Put gravel in the pens to keep the mud down.  Perhaps plant a garden. Why go to a gym – we have lots of activities to get that heart rate up!

Delivery Drivers – collect contributed produce and deliver to the refuge for the critters; solicit produce from your local farmer’s market, broken bags of food from a nearby store, etc.  Possibly transport animals if needed.  Help us collect pumpkins every fall.

Special Event Specialists – represent Rikki’s at various public events to raise awareness; help out at our open houses and tours.  Most events are on weekends.

Piggy Partners – pigs need love too.  Help keep their pens in shape and their shelters bedded in winter

Goat Go-fers – ditto with the goats

Horsey Honchos – our 2 horses need cleaning up and cleaning up after.

Livestock Lovers - we have cows and other livestock as well.

Fowl Friends – clean up poultry areas; fill the ducks’ and swan's water ponds

Etc. Experts – we need fund raisers, technophiles, grant writers and other skills you might have to share. 

Download the Release and Indemnity Agreement