In Marketplace

Chewie the Shitzu prepares for treatment.

In Marketplace

People come from suburbia as well as the surrounding urban setting to care for their pets.

In Marketplace

St. Paul's expanded in 1987.

In Marketplace

"Because we're a walk-in clinic you never know what you're going to see," Dr. Karla Dietrich.

A busy Saturday morning at St. Paul's Vet Clinic

Set against a gritty backdrop on 27th Street, just north of West St. Paul Avenue near Downtown, is a clean concrete building with a few small windows and a single door.

It's Saturday morning, and the first good weather in seven days has the St. Paul's Veterinary Clinic popping. The waiting room benches are filled with human voices, cat and dog noises, and desk phones gurgling incessantly.

"I have a real compassion for the animals," says Dr. Gursharan Singh, owner and one of the three vets on staff this Saturday morning. "My parents were farmers, so I've always been around them. I like this job, it keeps me busy. I get to see all aspects of medicine, not just one specialty."

St. Paul's may just be the hardest-working animal clinic in the city. The group practice of doctors, assistants, techs and receptionists often see hundreds of pets a day -- six days a week. Monday through Friday the clinic is open until 9 p.m. It sees walk-in clients only, with scheduled surgeries on Mondays and emergency operations as they come. Some weeks the occasional labrador will swallow a toy, while other weeks there will be a bunch in a row.

People come from suburbia as well as the surrounding urban setting. Prices for every treatment and medicine are discussed up front as they arise -- not after the bill is processed. If something is too difficult or specialized, they refer clients out from a list they keep handy on the wall by the medications.

"Mostly we see dogs and cats. Probably around 95 percent. Sometimes we'll get 'pocket pets' like hamsters or a ferret or rabbit," says Dr. Singh.

Dr. Singh has been seeing furry things professionally since 1987, and came on board to this practice in 1999 when it was a section of nearby warehouse. That same year, the new facility was assembled to accommodate parking and more tail-wagging room inside.

Two older gentlemen help a raggedy-looking dog atop the metal table in exam room No. 2. Assistant Miranda McDowell combs the dog and shows the result to Dr. Phil Sower. Sure enough, fleas. The good doctor begins an educational speech in the reproductive abilities of the pests and how they probably escaped the men's best efforts. Sower goes on to describe application of anti-flea liquid and flea bombs with costs for each.

In exam room No. 3, a spoiled looking kitty wails plaintively against her owner's chest as Dr. Singh trims nails (a practice St. Paul's offers more as precaution and health than just a courtesy grooming) while assistant Adam Christenson lines up the booster shots.

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sammcw | Oct. 19, 2007 at 5:12 p.m. (report)

I LOVE the St Paul vet clinic. I have been taking my cat and dog there for the last three years after going to several other vets in the Milwaukee area. None of the other vets were as nice, caring, or good at explaining what is going on with my pets (and both my cat and dog have had to have complicated surgeries). I trust their judgement and experience. The office staff is kind and courteous, and they don't get crabby when my dog barks at the other "patients" in the waiting area. They are also significantly cheaper than a lot of other vets in the area. I HIGHLY recommend them to anyone looking for a vet.

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