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.”
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.
“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.