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Local vet puts animals first

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 21, 2020

 Dr. Paul Turkal pets one of the office cats, Silver Streak, at the Doc McStuffin Pet Clinic on Harper Avenue.

Dr. Paul Turkal pets one of the office cats, Silver Streak, at the Doc McStuffin Pet Clinic on Harper Avenue.

Photo by Kristyne E. Demske

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Reynold Gutzi used to drive senior citizens around town for a local senior living facility.

The self-professed “sucker for animals” said he always felt badly when it was freezing cold in winter and he’d see a stray cat outdoors, trying to stay out of the elements. He wanted to help the felines find a good, safe home where they could live and be healthy.

About a year and a half ago, he found one such cat who had a visible tumor on its body. He took her to the local veterinarian that he was always driving past on his rounds, Dr. Paul Turkal of the Doc McStuffin Pet Clinic, 28732 Harper Ave.

“The doctor took her in and did the surgery, totally gratis. I’m just not used to a vet doing that,” said Gutzi, of Fraser. “They were all so business-like. I’ve never seen anything quite like this one. When I said, ‘How much, Doc?’ he said, ‘No charge.’”

It wasn’t just a one-time deal, either. Gutzi has since brought cats into Turkal to be spayed or neutered and vaccinated so they could go to a loving home, and Turkal always does the work at no cost to Gutzi.

“I’m a softie, so is he,” Turkal said. “He finds all these wild, feral cats (so I told him that) if he could adopt them out, I would fix them and vaccinate them and run all the tests necessary.

“Between him and I, we’ve probably done 20 cats.”

Turkal said that the work he does is his way of giving back to the community.

“I make my money. I make good money and I make a good living, so I’ve got to give back,” he said. “It’s good that I have Mr. Reynold (Gutzi) because I can call him if I have a cat that needs a home.”

The cat that needed the surgery, Charlotte, was so scared of humans, Turkal said, until Gutzi brought in a local car dealer that ended up adopting the cat.

“The cat went to his house and it fell in love with his house,” Turkal said.

Charlotte’s tumor returned at one point, so she had to be brought in for another surgery.

“It turns feral every time it comes in here, but with him, it’s calm and good,” he said.

Helping animals has been a passion of Turkal’s for years. He helped get dog parks up and running years ago in Mount Clemens and Warren, and that’s when he started his first vaccination clinics.

“I wanted them to not have diseases in the dog park, so I started a low-cost vaccination clinic,” he said.

Now, office manager Sue Chadwick said they have people who aren’t even clients calling to find out when the next clinic is. She said they offer them twice a year to help those who can’t afford proper care for their animals.

“Some people just can’t afford to take care of the animals, but they love the animals,” Turkal said.

Gutzi said that Turkal is unlike any other veterinarian he knows.

“One cat is a favor to a good friend, I could see (that), but this man just, whatever I ask, he’s there. He knows I don’t have a lot of money,” he said. “He’s a good man.

“I like animals more than people, but this man, I’ll do anything he asks.”

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