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Image may contain: horse and outdoorThe animals enjoyed having a couple of visitors tour the refuge after the first snow of 2017! Honors, the horse, is getting used to having visitors, and has decided that the carrots and apples that we bring are worth his coming to say “hello”! The cows and goats enjoying the sun after a day of snow. Bub and Goose enjoyed the fresh treats! Obie, the newest dog at Rikki’s, enjoyed a belly rub in the snow! Patrick and Preston loved the pineapple that was brought for them! Reese decided to pig out on the bird seed (it also had fruit in it). Petunia has a new best friend who brought sweet potatoes for her and her friends. The geese and the goats enjoyed seed and cookies and grapes!Image may contain: one or more people, outdoor and nature The cats enjoyed the company, and getting their ears scritched. When the temperatures get below freezing, the staff spends much of their time removing the ice from the water containers. Everyone who wants water to drink or swim in, is very grateful to have such caring and hardworking staff! Joey is an old favorite at the refuge. Obie spends much time looking for a friend to play with — but the cats are not used to the puppy playfulness, and hide from him. Jessie relaxes on the deck with some cats, chickens, and peacocks.

See more wonderful pictures here!

Donation Drop Off

Every SATURDAY at the Life Center from NOON to 2pm. Needs this week include DRY CAT FOOD, canned dog and cat food, meat baby food, canned tuna, heavy duty
trash bags, laundry detergent, bleach and paper towels.
Image may contain: drinkIf you can’t make it, but would still like to donate:
Opie’s Corner Store:
Mail a check or money order: PO Box 1357, Orange VA. 22960
The Life Center is located at 21410 Constitution Hwy, Rapidan, VA

Double It!

AMAZING END OF YEAR DOUBLE YOUR DONATION CHALLENGE — We have a generous sponsor who wants a tax break as much as YOU do! He will DOUBLE all donations UP TO $25,000 NOW through December 31 at 11:59pm! Wouldn’t you rather donate your money to Uncle Vincent Cat at RIKKI’S REFUGE (yes!) than to Uncle Sam (no!)??


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



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


And if anyone would like a tour, inquire at

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

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








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