Exclusive ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ Interview: Dr. Pol Goes In Depth to Discuss What It’s Like To Be A Community Vet On Call

The first thing one notices about Dr. Yan Pol, star of Nat Geo WILD’s The Incredible Dr. Pol, is his imposing stature, the second thing one notices is how gentle the soul is behind the tall veterinarian who is beloved by millions of viewers. Dr. Pol has the number one show on Nat Geo WILD, but there is no celebrity in his demeanor. He is refreshingly honest; a throwback to an era when hard work was the most valuable of all character traits.

With a strong handshake, Dr. Pol introduces himself humbly, shaking off any idea that his work is extraordinary. Dr. Pol and his wife and partner Diane were chosen to be the Grand Marshals at the Harbor Beach, Michigan parade earlier this year, a testimony of their importance to the community and to the fans who came from all over the world to see them. Now sitting in a bustling conference room in las Vegas for the Nat Geo WILD press junket, Dr. Pol quickly insists, “The community, we’ve been there now 34 years and yes, they depend on me. To retire would almost be impossible. It’s not that I’m a better veterinarian than the next guy, but nobody likes change.”

Dr. Pol sees his role as one of service. When asked why his show has impacted so many viewers, he quickly answers, “What we have here is reality. Nothing is made up for the camera. We do not act up for the camera. In fact, we get mic’d up when we go into the clinic, and in the beginning we would turn them off when we went to the bathroom and now we don’t even care anymore. So yes, we do not do anything out of the ordinary. It is all for the animals.”

In fact, when a cameraman gets in the way while filming visits, Dr. Pol is quick to tell them to move. Gesturing for emphasis, Dr. Pol says, “I tell the cameramen you’re too close get out of the way. Even when we are chasing animals around, we get the animal in a certain spot, and– Get out! Right on top of the camera because that cow does not want to move in there. Like I said, I bark orders.”

It is this prioritizing of animals that has made The Incredible Dr. Pol a hit. While the series and the work can often be gruesome and end in tragedy, it is the reality of being a veterinarian, a profession that is cloaked in mystery despite how often pet owners visit men and women just like Dr. Pol. During our conversation, Dr. Pol mentioned several cases that went wrong including a cow foaling twin calves simultaneously and the extreme measures he had to take to save the mother. His methods are straightforward and his work ethic unwavering. Local farmers have his number and do not hesitate to call day or night. Coming up in season five, viewers will see Dr. Pol working by the light of the moon to save a cow after getting a late night call from a local.

As for Dr. Pol, his philosophies are simple. As he puts it, his favorite animal is “a healthy animal.” If not for his son, Charles, he would not be on television, but despite his belief that his work is simply his work, he does understand the impact his series has on a communal and world level. For the humans who call upon him, Dr. Pol often is a source of comfort. “Many times I do a postmortem,” Dr. Pol says after recounting a tale of pet chicken who died from an egg cracking inside of her. “First of all, I learn from them, and second of all it’s to tell the people what happened and show them that no, you couldn’t have done anything about it. That’s my job.”

On a larger scale, Dr. Pol and Diane have pulled back the curtain on a profession that is absolutely attainable for children and young people looking for a career they can be passionate about. With many of their viewers being children, Dr. Pol is keenly aware of how valuable children being around animals at a young age is to their development into kind and understanding adults. “I have a job you can do,” Dr. Pol insists. “My job they can do and it makes them [the children] watch it more. Many of these shows, they cannot do. Children who grow up with animals learn responsibility. If you want to learn about the farm, watch this show because you can see what it takes to be part of a farm and a community.”

The Incredible Dr. Pol season five premieres tonight, Saturday, August 23rd at 9PM ET/PT on Nat Geo WILD.

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