Los Angeles Times

By Carla Hall

They come in with arthritis, back pain, sore elbows. Some are recuperating from car accidents or surgery or just bad judgment (a leap off a balcony). Others are coping with the ravages of old age. The most common problem: a tear of that pesky knee ligament, the ACL. They work out on treadmills, strengthen their core muscles, get their joints manipulated and undergo acupuncture.

They are patients of California Animal Rehabilitation, seeking physical therapy for pain relief and better mobility. They are mostly dogs, but the current clientele includes a few cats and a rabbit that lost its hop.

The clinic, which opened a year and a half ago in Santa Monica, is the brainchild of veterinarian Jessica Waldman, 33, and physical therapist Amy Kramer, 40, who holds a doctorate in her field. Technically, in California, what they do can’t be called "physical therapy" — that’s only for humans.

But the big rehab room will look familiar to anyone who’s been through a regimen of physical therapy: mats on the floor, colorful medicine balls in jelly bean shapes, meditation music wafting through the sound system.

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