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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

Where Is Animal Control?

There is a hidden world in Sacramento, off the grid and unknown to most. Dogs in small cages or padlocked to trees and poles. Chains tangled with little room to move. Many without food, water or shelter.

These are the dogs of homeless camps.

“You know those commercials on TV?” Debbie Tillotson says. She’s talking about the heart-wrenching public service ads that expose the underworld of animal abuse. “You can easily insert Sacramento. This is your backyard, it’s the same thing.”

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Worse Than Imagined

The meeting was touted as a Community Participation Workshop. It was anything but.

Its purpose was to give the public an opportunity to share comments, concerns and suggestions with the Animal Care Citizens Advisory Committee, a seven-member panel that makes recommendations to the City Council regarding the Front Street Animal Shelter.

Community members who turned out to have an open discussion about the city shelter were shut down after two minutes of comments—four minutes if the committee had no follow-up.

Questions from the public went unanswered. Dialogue was zero.

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Love, Praise, Affection

Living in a 700-square-foot New York apartment, Matthew Margolis slept in the foyer and his sister curled up on the living room couch. The family had two dogs when Margolis brought home a third.

His father said the dog couldn’t stay. So Margolis slept in Central Park, the dog by his side.

“When you’re shy growing up, dogs are your best friend,” Margolis says. “I couldn’t give that up.” After three days in the park, his parents finally gave in.

That passion for canines gave Margolis, better known as Uncle Matty, his future—55 years of training more than 50,000 dogs and a life goal to save as many as he can.

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On Deaf Ears

Tahoe Park resident Lynn Bishop joined dozens of other dog lovers last year answering a call from the city’s Front Street Animal Shelter. Foster a dog for the holidays.

Approximately 60 cars lined up for drive-through fostering. “It was like an assembly line,” says Bishop, who took home Roscoe, a 6-year-old unneutered chihuahua mix brought to the shelter as a stray.

On any given day, as many as 345 dogs are fostered through Front Street. Many are not spayed or neutered.

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Just One Look

Piggie’s pink tongue dangles permanently out the left side of his mouth. His ears, mangled from a home crop job, are frequently infected. Arthritic joints struggle to maintain his 50-pound rotund body. His breathing is labored.

When Andrea Haverland and her partner Marc Morgan chose Piggie as their foster, the bulldog’s nails were curling into his paw pads. “But the biggest, most shocking thing was his nose,” Haverland says. A compromised immune system left his nose raw and scabby, in regular need of topical medication.

Haverland and Morgan, who live in Midtown, had already successfully fostered three dogs for the city’s Front Street Animal Shelter. When the pandemic hit and shelters moved out as many animals as possible, “We thought it was great time to grab another foster,” she says. “It was a no-brainer when I saw his photo.”

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