Cathryn Rakich

Editor and Home Design and Pets Columnist

About This Author

Cathryn Rakich has been a writer and editor in the Sacramento area for 35 years, with articles in local, state and national publications. She is also active in the animal-welfare community, volunteering for local animal rescue groups. Her latest endeavor is as a ceramics artist.

Articles by this author

No More Bellas

This is about Bella and the system that failed her.

Dec. 4, a neighbor calls 311 about a dog at her apartment complex in South Natomas. The canine is left 24/7 on a small uncovered patio with no food or shelter. Storms are raging, temperatures are in the 30s.

Photos taken over the fence show a short-hair, medium-size, brown dog on a 3-by-5-foot cement patio. Her ribs protrude. She stands in her feces.

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Stop The Breeding

More than 100,000 adoptable dogs and cats are killed in California animal shelters each year—second only to Texas.

California has made progress. In 1998, we destroyed a half million dogs and cats annually. That year, the Hayden Act established state policy that no adoptable or treatable dog or cat can be euthanized at an animal shelter.

The killing slowed, but didn’t stop. Breeding continues. Shelters are overwhelmed.

Recognizing that we’ve fallen short, Gov. Gavin Newsom allocated $50 million in the 2020-21 state budget to make California a “no-kill” state.

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Rescue Reset

The downy-feathered bird was almost lifeless, alone in the grass with no mom in sight. A small nest rested in the branches of a crepe myrtle a few feet away.

He was younger than a fledging, who would have hopped and fluttered in an attempt to fly. With no protection, the chick would not survive a roaming cat or the afternoon heat.

I returned the youngster to his nest. After an hour of waiting and watching, no mom or dad returning to the scene, I placed the chick in a box and drove to Sacramento’s Wildlife Care Association.

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Fixing Front Street

A dog with no microchip, no ID tag. A door left open or a hole in the fence. Someone willing to do the right thing—get the dog off the street.

Now what? Is taking the lost canine to a local animal shelter the best way to reunite him with his owner? Is that where he will be safe? Is that where his parents will look first?

Or is it better to hold onto the dog, place signs around the neighborhood, post photos on social media, walk door to door?

Phillip Zimmerman, manager of the city’s Front Street Animal Shelter, likes the second option. So much so that he has instituted a “managed intake” policy at Front Street.

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Who Will Help?

My husband and I noticed something amiss when our 13-year-old chihuahua mix, Tammy, was uninterested in breakfast. She was moving slowly, not the perky wide-eyed pooch spinning in circles for a morning treat.

I called our veterinarian’s office, assuming it would be booked for the day but hoping staff could squeeze us in. They couldn’t.

I reached out to six other veterinary clinics near our home in Wilhaggin. Only one was accepting new patients, but the wait was three weeks.

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