He has been a vet for nearly a half century. “They won’t let me retire,” he joked. The Netherlands native said he is one of just a handful of vets in Michigan who will accept any animal.
“People who own these animals need just as much as the animal itself,” he said. “If you can make the animal feel better, it makes people happy. That’s my goal in life.”
He said Nat Geo named him the “Incredible Dr. Pol” and it sometimes embarrasses him. “I’m not incredible,” he said. “I don’t know everything. If I don’t know it, I will try to look it up. Someone else has done it before. When you see me sewing up that boa constrictor, I didn’t know what anesthetic to use. I had to look it up.”
Dr. Pol spends a lot of time with cows. He’ll do pregnancy checks by placing his left arm up the cow’s rear end. Why his left? While in the Netherlands, he was told that people who are right-handed have more sensitivity in their left hand. And that’s the case with Dr. Pol. “I couldn’t do it with my right hand now,” he said.
Frequency certainly improves efficacy. One day last month, he did 100 cow pregnancy checks in about 90 minutes.
He always encourages families to have pets for their kids. “It gives you more empathy and good feeling,” he said. “Before he knows right and wrong, he’ll know not to pull a cat’s tail because the cat won’t play with him.”
Dr. Pol said even though he works full time, he and his wife Diane find time to travel. Their next destination: the Galapagos Islands, followed by a trip to his home country of Netherlands.
He said he’s more famous there than in the United States. “They don’t make their own stars,” he said. “If you want to be a star, you have to do it in a different language. I came to the States. Now, I’m on TV there. They’re proud of us.”
“The Incredible Dr. Pol,” returns for 13th season at 9 p.m. Saturday, July 7, Nat Geo WILD