Welcome to The XX Factor.

I recently read an article about 1950s-1980s advertising targeting women. The ads played on perceived insecurities and emphasized how women could “please their men.” Do housework in heels, they suggested, and paint your lips with a bright-red smile while you do it … because everyone is watching you, and you have to be perfect.

One of my favorite “women empowerment” slogans from back then was, “You’ve come a long, long way.” It was hilarious, because the lead-in line was: “You’ve got your own cigarette, now, baby!” A skinny cigarette that doesn’t distract from my outfit?! You’re killing me, Virginia Slims.

However, this column is not some feminist manifesto. Its purpose is to celebrate the badass females in our valley—the ones who paved the way, the ones who built the infrastructure, and the ones who continue to improve life in the Coachella Valley. These are their stories.

Things you should know about Rachel Reedy: She was born and raised in Idaho; at 5 years of age, she announced she was going to be a veterinarian (there’s video evidence); she loves puzzles; and she’s a real-life cowgirl who competes in a sport called reined cow horse.

“(You do) sliding stops and spins; you’re scored based on the maneuvers,” Reedy said. “And then there’s a cutting portion where you have a large herd of cows, and then you separate one from the herd.”

There’s one more part: “You get one cow you have to do certain maneuvers with. We’re not roping; we’re not knocking them over. We’re not doing anything like that. You basically hold them to the wall, turn them and circle them. It’s a lot of fun and really hard.”

In 2019, Reedy took home second in a non-pro, two-rein-class contest.

While reined cow horse competitions sound like a lot of work, Reedy works even harder at her day job. A doctor of veterinary medicine since 2010, she’s been saving animals’ lives in the Coachella Valley since 2012.

Last year, Reedy came upon an opportunity she just couldn’t turn down. She had already been working toward purchasing a fully operating clinic. When that purchase opportunity became unstable, the space formerly known as Southwest Veterinary Clinic in Cathedral City was brought to her attention. Rumor has it that the former owner came into an inheritance, locked the doors and went off to enjoy his windfall.

“(The space) had been sitting empty with a whole bunch of equipment still in it,” Reedy said. “Whoever had the lease had never come in and touched anything.”

The staff at Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic.

She had about two weeks to decide. In October 2020, Reedy hung her own shingle, opening Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic.

Starting a business during the pandemic turned out to be the perfect storm, in a good way: People were adopting more pets, and many clinics weren’t taking new patients; some closed up shop completely.

As a Ridgeline client, I can say: Right out of the gate, the clinic had superior COVID-19 protocols. Friendly staff ushered pets from the car into the clinic and back out again, with a visit from Reedy at the end to discuss the results/treatment. The entire experience was comforting; I was impressed. My cats loved them, too (as shown by their lack of complaining on the way home).

There are things Reedy would like pet owners to know: “(Veterinarians) not only take care of general complaints; they play a big role in food safety, the spread of disease and containment of disease, and epidemiology, so it’s not just clinical practice.”

Reedy does a lot of work with soft-tissue problems and injuries. A recent pup and its parents made an impact on her.

Rachel Reedy with Spud.

“There was a gentleman who came in with his wife; he had Parkinson’s, and they had a yellow lab,” Reedy said. “(The dog had) this massive tumor, like 13 pounds. I removed it; the dog did really well.”

After saying that, Reedy got a distant look on her face, which surprised me. She generally has a very kind but professional demeanor.

“The guy got out of his wheelchair and gave me a big hug,” she said. “A week later, I got a really big thank-you card. It still brings tears to my eyes, remembering how grateful those people were. When I have bad days, I remember that story.”

Reedy is incredibly self-effacing. When I asked her to do an interview, she said, “I’d love to, but there are so many other women vets in the valley who I think are more deserving.” I asked her why. “Because they come from a generation where women were still a minority (in veterinary care), and they still had successful businesses and did well. It was harder then to be a woman and do that; they’ve paved the way for women like me.”

Reedy offered shout-outs to Dr. Shakira Jameson, of Paws and Claws Pet Care in Palm Desert; Dr. Lillian Roberts, of Country Club Animal Clinic in Palm Desert; and Dr. Kathryn Carlson, of Village Park Animal Hospital in La Quinta.

I’ll add my personal shout out to Rachel Reedy, DVM, owner and operator of Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic—and badass cowgirl.

For more information on Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic, visit www.ridgelinevetclinic.com. Have an idea for someone to be profiled? Email kayku1956@gmail.com.

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Kay Kudukis

Kay Kudukis is a former lead singer in a disco cover band who then became a Gaslight girl, then an actress, and then the author of two produced and wildly unacclaimed plays—as well as one likely unseen...

4 replies on “The XX Factor: Meet Rachel Reedy, the Real-Life Cowgirl and Doctor at Ridgeline Veterinary Clinic”

  1. I’ve always had furkids every minute I’ve existed on this Earth! Over the last 5 years (+/- ?), I have gone to Dr. Reedy since she was in DHS and continue to follow her wherever she goes. She and her team have provided THE BEST care for my 100+ pounds of furbabies. Her knowledge, bedside manner, true compassion for the animal, not acting in greed, and her wonderful team keeps me going back to her. I trust her wholeheartedly with the loves of my life. You picked one hell of a strong woman to showcase!

  2. That’s my Girl. A delightful woman; focused, determined and compassionate. I feel the times we rode together, many years ago, I learned from this whipper-snapper & enjoyed her friendship.

  3. Hi! It’s Kay, the writer of this article. I’m here to tell you that I am passionate about this project. I’m adding my own call out for you to nominate women/girls in the valley who have done or are poised to do extraordinary things. If you know someone with a great story, let’s tell it. Business women, artists, girls in STEM, or anyone who have the double X chromosome who have contributed to our valley in meaningful ways. I want to shout out all of them, and empower other women to do the same. It’s perfectly fine if it’s you nominate yourself. That’s a badass move, and I’m here for it. Be proud of your accomplishments, and how you achieved them, and I’ll tell your story. Did your mom, aunt or grandmother work three jobs to help raise you? I want to know about her. Did your friend reinvent herself? I want to know about her. I think you catch my drift. All women have had an uphill battle for centuries and their stories not only inspire you, but me and other women. So give me a shout at Kayku1956@gmail.com and tell me about you, or the women who are/were impactful in other people’s lives. Cheers to them and you for nominating them! Thanks, K

  4. We have been with Rachel for almost 10 years. We love to rescue the old Bostons that no one else would so needless to say she has been through quite a bit with our family. She treats each and every one as if they were one of her own and that makes her one of the super special ones. We can never thank her and her staff enough. They own a huge part of our hearts.

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