Animal care-taker positions open at Rikki’s Refuge!

We have animal care positions available at Rikki’s Refuge,  a no-kill animal sanctuary in central Virginia.

If you’re interested in seeking employment at Rikki’s Refuge, please call 540-395-3339.

We interview Saturday’s at noon at our education center.

21410 Constitution Hwy, Rapidan,  VA. 22733
This is at the corner of Rt 20 – Constitution Hwy – and Quarterhorse Ln.
The gate is immediately on the left as you turn on to Quarterhorse Ln off of rt 20.

Interview time is promptly at noon. Late arrivals will have to reschedule for a following Saturday.

Step 1 – orientation, at noon. Where you’ll hear about the sanctuary, the work that is done, and what’s expected of each staff member.

The state prohibits anyone under the age of 18 from working in animal care.

Our vehicle insurance prohibits anyone under the age of 21 from our vehicles. They also require a good clean driving history. Not meeting their criteria doesn’t totally preclude employment here, but most staff members need to be able to drive our vehicles so they can haul trash to the dump, pick up supplies and take animals to the vet and so on.

Everyone works from 8 am till 5 pm.

Everyone works weekends and holidays. You’ll have two days off during the week. It’s not always the same days and it’s not always back to back days.

Most of the work is outdoors, regardless of the weather, sleet, snow, rain, blistering heat.

You’ll be expected to come to work no matter what the weather is, rain or snow, sleet or shine. You must have a way to get to work in even the worst weather. Animals especially need you in freezing conditions.

You’ll be working with 1300 animals of 22 species, about half are cats, many of them are feral cats. We only house domestic and farm animals. You will not be working with Wildlife. Everyone must work with all species of animals, so if there are any that you don’t want to work closely with, this isn’t the place to be.

You can have no fear of animals. Many of ours are not social, like the feral cats, and they will bite and scratch. You will be cleaning their homes and medicating them. You will be bit, scratched, clawed, horned, kicked and have your feet stomped on by large hoofed animals. If you fear this, they know and they will take advantage of you.

All work is animal oriented and most of it is clean up. You’ll be working to remove over 600 pounds of poop from the property each and every day. That’s the biggest part of animal care !! Everyone works in animal care.

In addition to animal care you’ll be giving medications, trimming hooves, grooming, doing lawn maintenance, building maintenance and helping to repair and build fences. Everybody has to help with everything !!

This is a very fast paced job. You’ll be on your feet and rushing to complete the work in the required time frames. There are county and state laws about what time things must be cleaned by, and we have to see that all staff sticks to the timing. There is no time to slow down at all during the day. With this many animals, there’s always lots of work to do.

Step 2 – weight lifting and carrying. Much of the work at Rikki’s involves lifting and carrying 40-50 pound sacks of feed, cat litter, salt blocks, bales of hay and so on. Everyone goes thru this exercise during the interview so they can get a feel for what it’s really like. It’s not just lifting 40 or 50 pounds once. You’ll be unloading tractor trailers full of 40 and 50 pound boxes. A couple times a week you’ll be changing out litter boxes and that means getting 1800 pounds of litter out of storage, taking it to the cat areas, and changing it, then hauling the old to the dump.

Step 3 – sprinting. Many animals need to be caught for various reasons, medications, shearing, hoof trimming, and so on. When they are in large fields and don’t want to be caught, they have to be chased down and caught. There is also a lot of walking during regular work as our facility is spread over 100 acres. Vehicles are used only when absolutely necessary to prevent traffic around the animals that could harm them. You’ll sprint across a field and back to get a feel for chasing an animal you need to capture. You need to have the stamina to keep running and chasing animals, often for several hours at a time.

Step 4 – written questions. You’ll fill out the application which not only has your history but also tests your knowledge about animal care and your attitude about animals.

You must have a positive, go getter attitude, show enthusiasm for working here and a sincere desire to help animals.

If you have any criminal history, be sure to explain it in detail. It does not necessarily preclude you from employment. But if you do not disclose a background, that will preclude you from being hired. All applicants are run thru a background check, so be honest on your application.

Be sure to include all work history, even the bad things, we check on everything, verify all employment, and will need to fill in all time gaps. We use more than just the information you list. So be sure not to list an incorrect person as your supervisor, because we’ll find out, and we will not hire anyone who has not told the truth.

Step 5 – face to face interview. We’ll go over your application with you, discussing issues, asking questions, and you’ll be able to ask questions.

Step 6 – shadow day. If, after step 5, it looks like you could be a Rikki’s team member, you will schedule half a day to come in and observe the work we do. It will be from 8 am – noon on Sunday, and you’ll see what staff does. This will let you see what it’s like in the morning before hard working folks have cleaned up after the animals. It will give us an idea of your motivation, how fast you learn, how quickly you complete tasks. You are not obligated to stay, and if at any time you decide this isn’t going to be the job for you, you may leave.

Step 7 – volunteer day. If, after step 6, it looks like you could be a Rikki’s team member, you will schedule a day to come in and volunteer. It will be a full day, and you’ll work just like the staff, alongside the staff. This will give you a real idea of what a job here is like. It will give us an idea of your motivation, how fast you learn, how quickly you complete tasks, and how well you work with the animals and if the animals like you. You are not obligated to stay the full day. If at any time you or our staff manager decides this isn’t the job for you, you may leave. If you complete the day, are happy with the challenges of working at Rikki’s Refuge, and our staff manager is happy with your work ethic, and our animals like you, you will be considered either for immediate employment or for employment in the future.

So if you are highly motivated, up for a physically demanding job, willing to work hard and fast, love animals, really want to change their plight in the world, ready to work in any weather and no matter what ….. I hope you’ll become one of our exclusive team !!!

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About Rikki's Refuge

Supported entirely by donations from kind and loving individuals, 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. The refuge is home to over 1200 animals of over 20 different species, including but not limited to cats, dogs, sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, emus, chickens, ducks, geese, a chukar, peacocks, and more. 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.