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Style Magazine

Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode

Feb 25, 2014 09:27AM ● By Style

Photography by Dante Fontana, © Style Media Group.

It was 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant who said “We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.”

As a longtime volunteer and board memeber at Animal Outreach of the Mother Lode (AOML), Lori Cicchini lives by these words. “I know that every cat or dog deserves to be well treated and loved by someone, and many aren’t,” she explains. “I feel I have a responsibility, as part of this community, to do what I can to change that and help save as many lives as we can together.”

AOML was founded in 1992 with a goal of reducing feline euthanizations in the Diamond Springs area. Throughout its more than 20-year history, the nonprofit’s largely volunteer staff has provided quality low- and no-cost spay/neuter and vaccination services for cats throughout El Dorado, Placer and Sacramento counties, including a free spay/neuter program for feral cats held the first Saturday of every month. In recent years, AOML has extended its reach to canine care, including nail clipping, vaccinations and microchipping. When they aren’t busy educating the public about the benefits of controlling the pet population, Cicchini and her fellow volunteers maintain close relationships with local shelters in an effort to find both foster and permanent homes for animals on the verge of being euthanized.

“Our community has been a great support to us in our mission,” shares Lana Deering, a member of the AOML board of directors. “Continuing support is always needed, especially as we grow. Volunteers are always a huge need. A couple hours a week makes a big difference for us.”


AOML is currently seeking cage cleaners, adoption and placement specialists, and individuals with enough technological know-how to perform basic website maintenance.

Director Maggie Killackey also encourages donations—just $10 provides a rabies vaccination for one cat or kitten, while $100 covers the cost of a new holding cage. Supplies—ranging from cat litter and food to cleaning products and gently used refrigerators for storing vaccinations—are also gratefully accepted.

“I have seen a tremendous change in our organization through the years,” Killackey says, “and the results are simply the impact we have had on the community at large. This particular cause is close to my heart because of my total involvement with the organization, and the amount of animals we have been able to save throughout the years.”

Each year, AOML provides medical care to 10,000 animals, rescues more than 2,000 cats and dogs, and finds more than 100 foster homes for rescued and rehabilitated animals. According to Jeanne Jackson, president of AOML’s board of directors, the organization hopes to expand its “safety net” to other states and encourage shelters to embrace no-kill models of operation.

“To be a part of AOML is really a gift. No other organization is so generous,” Jackson says. “Everyone is born with a purpose and mine is to help animals.”

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