We’re committed to keeping clients and staff safe during COVID-19 with NEW admittance and check-out processes.  Click here to learn more about about our Covid-19 safety procedures.

Our Emergency and Critical Care service is experiencing an unprecedented caseload, which is resulting in significant wait times. Critical pets will be prioritized.

As pet owners ourselves, our staff understands that the loss of a pet or dealing with a pet’s serious illness can be emotionally devastating. For pet owners struggling with the loss or imminent loss of a pet, we offer a complimentary Pet Loss Support Group. This group meets every Tuesday evening from 7pm-8pm. We also offer a family night (children welcome) the 2nd Sunday of every month at 4pm. These sessions are hosted by Dr. Susan Holt, a Pet Loss Grief Recovery Specialist and Kelly Drescher-Johnson, a student of veterinary chaplaincy and grief care.

Dr. Susan Holt, PGRS-C
Pet Loss Grief Recovery Specialist

Dr. Holt graduated with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology at Santa Cruz and received her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Illinois in 2009. After moving back to MA, Dr. Holt decided to offer at home euthanasia as her way of giving back to the community, as she knows all too well how difficult this time can be. To further help pet owners, in 2019 Dr. Holt became certified in Grief Counseling for Pet Loss by the American Institute of Health Care Professionals.

Kelly Drescher-Johnson
Kelly Drescher-Johnson obtained a B.A. in Music Education from Carroll University. She later attended Boston University and graduated with a Masters of Divinity in Practical Theology. She is currently in a training program for veterinary chaplaincy and grief care.

These sessions are open to the public. Please feel free to drop in. Our address is 595 Columbian Street, S. Weymouth, MA. Attendees should go to the back entrance and follow the signage to our large conference room where the meetings are held. More information can also be found here.


Undesirable behaviors negatively impact the relationship we have with our pets. The goal of our Behavior Service is to create a better life for you and your pet by preventing and treating behavior problems using compassionate, scientific methodology that nurtures the human-animal bond.
Common problems addressed: Anxiety, phobias (storms, fireworks, travel, etc.), aggression, inter-dog aggression, separation anxiety, compulsive behaviors, global fear, resource guarding, leash reactivity, and litter box issues in cats.

During the 1-2 hour behavior consultation, Dr. Gallagher will review the pet's history, discuss behavior diagnoses, provide a comprehensive treatment plan and behavior modification program, and address any pet owner questions. Behavior consultations are available every other Monday.

Our behavior consultation client questionnaire can be found at VCAsouthshorebehavior.com. In order for Dr. Gallagher to fully evaluate each patient, this form will need to be filled out prior to a pet's appointment.

What Is A Veterinary Behaviorist?

A veterinary behaviorist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of behavior problems in pets. Veterinary behaviorists use behavior modification techniques, environmental and lifestyle changes, and medication (when appropriate) in order to manage behavior problems. As trained veterinarians, veterinary behaviorists also have the medical knowledge to determine whether an underlying medical condition is responsible for your pet’s behavioral change. Medical problems almost always have behavioral consequences, but not every behavior change is due to a medical problem. Veterinary behaviorists are uniquely trained to recognize and treat both. Your pet’s primary care veterinarian can diagnose and treat many routine behavior problems; however, many behavior issues require the care of a doctor who has had specialized, intensive training in veterinary behavior in order to provide the very best outcome for your pet. The treatment of behavior cases requires a very careful accounting of the pet's past history, both medical and behavioral, and his or her current lifestyle. It is important to really understand your pet's emotional and psychological needs and deficits in order to gain insight into the solutions to the issues that concern you.

What is the Difference between a Veterinary Behaviorist and a Trainer?

Veterinary behavior treatment goes far above and beyond basic obedience training. Trainers commonly teach commands such as “sit” or “stay.” To a veterinary behaviorist, however, teaching commands may be just a small part of a larger treatment program designed to address a pet’s behavior issue, whether it be aggression or house soiling. While a trainer’s primary goal is to get a pet simply to act a certain way, a veterinary behaviorist’s primary goal is to understand why a pet misbehaves in order to create a personalized, comprehensive treatment plan to address the underlying cause of the behavior problem. Addressing the fundamental reason for misbehavior, rather than attempting to “train away” the problem, typically leads to longer-lasting results. Veterinary behaviorists are qualified to provide you with the correct diagnosis and state-of-the-art treatment of your pet’s behavior problem. A veterinary behaviorist is also best able to determine whether your pet may benefit from behavior-modifying medication or if a medical problem may be a contributing factor. While some non-veterinary behaviorists and trainers are experienced and educated, there are others who possess no formal education or proper understanding of animal behavior and may utilize unproven, outdated or even inhumane training techniques to achieve short-term results. By consulting and working with a veterinary behaviorist, your pet will be receiving the highest standard of care from a veterinary professional.

Our Behavior Services

Grief Counseling

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