For 13 years, I lived in fear that Cosmo, my vet phobic cat, would have to go to the vet. Recently, at the age of 15, that became a necessity. The trip, with its unexpectedly positive outcome, was only possible because of Dr. Malamed’s brilliant guidance and support over the preceding months. The blend of behavioral therapy and anti anxiety medication made this outcome possible and even resulted in the vet tech describing Cosmo as a “good boy”. These certainly were not words I had ever heard anyone in the vet’s office use in relation to Cosmo. I cannot honestly say that I look forward to future visits to the vet, but I can now rest assured that I will be able to get medical help for my cat should it become necessary. The most amazing part of the process has been that Cosmo thinks our crate training is play and often initiates the start of a training session by going to the closet where his training reward toy is kept. Through the training, his fear of his crate has disappeared completely! I am truly grateful, with all my heart, for the highly effective behavioral plan developed for us by Dr. Malamed.
Jeter has been doing great! He has been an absolute changed dog since our appointment. He is much more relaxed, happy, and care-free. When he has something to guard, he trusts me. It is amazing! When he would guard things at first, he would keep them in his mouth, growl and attack when someone approached. After our appointment, and ignoring the guarding, he would keep the object next to him. He will now lay down about a foot away from the object. He rolls on his back and accepts the affection without growls or any negative behavior. I have even kissed him on the head while an object seemed to be guarded. He has become such an amazing dog. The house is a much more relaxed and happy environment. Thank you for giving me my dog back!!
I took my pitmix rescue, Wilco, to Dr. Rachel Malamed at the California Veterinary Behavior Clinic in March of 2011 as he was suffering from severe separation anxiety. When I say severe, although he was not intentionally destructive, he pooped, peed, barked, sobbed, paced, drooled constantly while we were gone and would not touch his food or treats (he is ordinarily a glutton). Although he was fine in his crate when we were home, when we left he was even worse, eventually breaking out of it. He was absolutely miserable, a pathetic mess. This was all confirmed by video. Fortunately we work from home and he loves doggie daycare so he doesn’t need to be left alone often but no one wants to be held hostage or not be able to go out to a movie or dinner.
After an extensive written history, watching our videos and personal observation, Dr. Malamed prescribed a treatment plan to implement before leaving in addition to a detailed behavior modification plan. Over the course of 6 months Wilco gradually improved. Fortunately he had no adverse side effects from any of the meds. He was better with each subsequent departure. We weaned him off the medicine in November and although I won’t say he looks forward to out departures) he is calm, happy, enjoys his treats, no longer barks or shows any signs of anxiety while we’re gone.
Dr. Malamed is an excellent vet and has terrific “bedside manner” with both human and canine clients. And sure, people look at you funny when you tell them your dog has a shrink but you know what; when there is treatment available, why suffer? Whether you are a human or a dog.
Helios is a 7-year-old domestic short hair that I picked up off the street when he was approximately 3 months old. He’s been a wonderful love-bug and massively cuddly. He mostly gets along with my two other cats. However, when he was about 5-years old (after I had moved to a new place with a new roommate), he started urinating in inappropriate places (the couch, my bed – while I sleeping in it!, piles of laundry, and my shoes). He was still friendly and affectionate with me, but sometimes would pick fights with the other cats. I had tried extra play time, extra litter boxes, adding cat trees, adding extra feeding/watering stations, and still had trouble with this! I just accepted that my apartment was going to smell like cat pee, since giving him up to a shelter was not an option.
I took him to the vet for his annual check up and was referred to Dr. Malamed for more behavioral help due to the lack of a medical reason for the inappropriate urination. Dr. Malamed was very thourough in her assessment of Helios to make sure she had a good medical and behavioral history before she offered any interventions. Her positive energy was inspriring – it brought me hope that I could live differently. She helped me find some additional ways to help redirect him back to the litterbox, which has, for the most part been successful. He still “relapses” sometimes, but it is usually because I wasn’t as strict on the plan that Dr. Malamed had suggested and he can’t be blamed for that. With the help from Dr. Malamed, Helios and the other cats are happier, I’m happier, and guests like to come over since the apartment doesn’t smell like cat pee!