Handing Over the Reins


“Handing Over the Reins”

by Dr. Tonia Shatzel

My experiences serving the 30A community over the last five years have been extraordinary, to say the least.  One thing I love about this community is, well, the Love!  My 30A family is passionate about love, life, community service, the environment, and their fellow humans (and non-humans)  to a level that seems to know no bounds.

As a veterinarian in this community, I’ve had the privilege of serving some of the kindest, most caring and grateful clients in the world.  I love the people here with my heart and my soul.  Everyone who lives here is here because they want to be.  When we are not talking about our beloved pets, our chats cover the weather, the beach, the clouds, the sunsets, the “green flash,” stingrays, dolphins, alligators, bears, herons, and, of course, our tourists!

Being a vet is like being a mom to thousands of humans and thousands of pets all at the same time.  Veterinarians must wear the hat of educator, grief counselor, financial advisor, diagnostician (to patients who can’t talk to you), pet whisperer, a leader in times of crisis, and of course, doctor and surgeon.  It’s a busy life, but a very fulfilling one at the same time!

My path has been filled with joy and grief, miracles, successes, failures, and plenty of emotional trials and tribulations.   I’ve lived this life, to some extent or another, for 20 years now.  I’ve been a parent and single mom for almost 14 of those 20 years, and the time has come to hand over the reins to the next healer in line.

I have to say, it wasn’t a given that I would be able to find the perfect person to take over 30A Vet, but we were blessed to be united with a veterinarian, who, in my opinion, is the perfect fit!

Which leads me to introduce you to Dr. Kelly Brawner, the new practice owner.  Raised on a professional Quarter Horse farm in central Alabama, Dr. Brawner developed her interest in veterinary medicine literally on the farm! She obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Zoology from Auburn University.  She then attended veterinary school at St. Matthew’s University. She completed her clinical year rotations at Oklahoma State University.

After practicing in general practice for a couple of years, she was excited for the opportunity to practice emergency medicine at a busy, multi-specialty referral center. She enjoyed the opportunity to follow complex cases and learn from the specialists. Her professional interests include internal medicine, radiology, ultrasonography and critical care.  Her passion to be part of a client-centered general practice that provides comprehensive care for the pets in the community has finally been realized with the purchase of 30A Vet, placing her regionally right in the middle of her family members’ homes. 

She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, also named Kelly! They spend their free time with the daughter Kameron, exploring the local beaches and enjoying all the outdoor activities. Dr. Brawner is pictured above with their French Bulldog, “Eleanor,” the new mascot for 30A Vet!

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Brawner to the community at an Open House at the clinic this Tuesday, January 9th, and Thursday, January 11th, from 5 pm to 6:30 pm.  We’ll provide the small bites, Mimosas, and dog biscuits!  (Leashed Furry Friends are Welcome!)  I’ll be hosting the gatherings and assisting Dr. Brawner over the next few months, making sure she has as seamless a transition as possible to her new role of practice ownership! 

We hope to see you there!

Dr. T