Caring for animals has long been a passion of Dr. Star Gregory's, and a couple of years ago she opened a mobile veterinary service to pursue her love even further.
Zutilla Veterinary Housecalls, based in Lilburn opened in 2011, after Gregory moved to the area with her husband. A Spelman College graduate, Gregory feels right at home in metro Atlanta.
She started the business for mainly one reason -- to better the experience of pets, which often see veterinary visits as stressful. The name of the business pays homage to two of her beloved dogs, Zulu (who passed away in 2007) and Atilla.
Patch recently followed Gregory around town as she met with clients. Each client said she was just what they, and their pets, needed: someone caring, someone experienced, and someone who comes directly to their front door.
Learn more about Gregory and Zutilla Veterinary Housecalls in the Q & A below.
Patch: When did you open your business?
Gregory: January 2011
Patch: Before then, what were you doing?
Gregory: I was actually living in Illinois, outside of Chicago. And, I was working at a hospital there. Then, me and my husband moved to Lilburn at the end of 2010.
Patch: Did you move here for family?
Gregory: I went to Spelman for undergrad, so I'm kind of familiar with the area. And, my husband's father is down here; he's in Stockbridge. So, he's got some family here, but I don't have any family here. But, I like the area. It's certainly a lot warmer than Illinois.
Patch: Why did you decide to go the route of a mobile service?
Gregory: Primarly because when I was working in the hospital up in Illinois, I would see firsthand how scared and how nervous a lot of the pets would get. They'll come in, and sometimes that fear can actually turn into aggression also. So, I just wanted to make things more comfortable for them. I figured what better way to do that than to have them stay in their own house. It's especially good for pets that don't like to travel, which is almost any cat really.
Patch: Was it daunting to start your own business?
Gregory: Oh, yeah. It's definitely, you know, going out on a limb, and stepping out on faith. I didn't know anybody here. I didn't have any old clients or anything that would follow me from Illinois. So, starting from scratch. Definitely daunting, but I wouldn't do it any other way. I love what I do.
Patch: What do you mostly see the animals for?
Gregory: I would say the majority of the pets I see are for vaccines. Sometimes, sick pets... and I do also in-home euthanasias. It's not my favorite visit, but I think it is better to have that done in the house if at all possible, rather than taking the animal to the hospital where they're all scared and stressed. You know, scary things happen in the hospital. I like being able to provide that peaceful passing.
Patch: In our area, how far outside of Lilburn do you travel?
Gregory: My service area is mostly Gwinnett County, DeKalb County, and northern Fulton County.
Patch: When do have appointments?
Gregory: Right now I'm seeing appointments Wednesday-Friday.
Patch: Is this -- veterinary medicine -- something you always wanted to do?
Gregory: Yes, from the time I was really young. I've always loved animals.
Patch: Do you have any advice for pet owners?
Gregory: I would say the two biggest things are: 1.) to actually have your pet examined by a veterinarian twice a year. A lot of people they think the only reason their pet needs to see a veterinarian is for vaccines. And, now that a lot of vaccines are only give every three years, that means they only take their pets to the vet every three years.
That's equivalent to a human only seeing their doctor every 21 years, which is not ideal. So, I promote twice-a-year wellness exams, just to do a physicla every six months, even if there is nothing wrong that you're seeing, if they're not due for vaccines, they still need to be seen by a veterinarian twice a year.
And, then also teeth brushing. A lot of people don't do that either. They neglect dental care, and when the teeth go bad that can actually transfer to other organ systems because everything's connected by the bloodstream. So, if there's an issue in the mouth, that I can lead to an issue with the liver, the kidneys, the heart -- things like that.
Want more information?
- To learn more about Dr. Star Gregory and Zutilla Veterinary Housecalls, check the company website and Facebook page.
- Contact the doctor at 404-859-9246, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Gregory is also a blogger on Patch. Check out her entries by clicking here.