Once it was official in 2011 that NatGeo WILD had welcomed The Incredible Dr. Pol as one of its new reality shows, Dr. Pol and his staff started getting to know the camera crew from the network.
Soon, they became as much a part of the clinic as any other staff and that’s perhaps thanks to the unique way Dr. Pol invited the crew to feel like one of the gang.
Find out Dr. Pol’s method and hear what a camera operator has to say as well.
At first it was pretty cramped with the cameras in Pol Veterinary Services
When NatGeo WILD began filming at Pol Veterinary Clinic in 2011, it took a while for everyone to get used to the presence of camera crew and equipment.
The doctor told Today’s Veterinary Practice in 2012 more about how filming impacts his practice.
“We are very busy in the practice and having all the filmmakers around slows me down some but after a while a routine develops,” he said. “It is amazing how small a portion of each day is used in the show, so ‘reality’ is still heavily edited and made entertaining. Without the film crew there, the day is smoother because we are not held up by interviews with the clients but otherwise it is business as usual.”
The camera crew’s view of things
One of the show’s former producers, Colin Shea, revealed, in a blog post on Dr. Pol’s website, that the day-to-day production on the reality show was no walk in the park. It was more of a walk in the cow manure. Producers and crew were on hand to help out Dr. Pol and his staff during filming. Shea made it clear, keeping up with the 77-year-old veterinarian was no easy task.
“This [show’s] crew isn’t on a sound stage in L.A. or a city block in New York; they’re knee-deep in mud and cow manure in the farms of central Michigan. . . Not only are we there to film a television series but we are also there to not ruin any cases that Dr. Pol may have.”
“The Incredible Dr. Pol is much more than a regular television gig. Lunches are eaten in bumpy cars chasing Dr. Pol down a road or in an Amish farm surrounded by cattle . . . Life is another day on the farm, and on the farm, everyone’s got to do some heavy lifting to earn his or her keep.”
How the crew bonded with Dr. Pol
The Netherlands-born vet described in his book how he, perhaps to test how much the crew had grown accustomed to seeing him insert his entire arm up a cow’s rear end to check for pregnancies, asked them to take a cow for a spin, so to speak.
“. . . the real test of the crew’s commitment was doing a pregnancy check. . . for people who haven’t done it, the thought of putting an arm all the way inside a cow – especially a cow filled with manure – is probably a lot more difficult that the reality of it.”
“So one day after I’d done some pregnancy checks, I asked the crew if they wanted to try it. Not everybody wanted to do it, but several people did. Some of the people had excuses – one of our producers told me, ‘I don’t want to hurt the cow!’ ‘Oh,’ I said to him, ‘don’t worry about it. You won’t. She won’t even know you’re visiting!’”
“I know the thing that surprised everyone was how much room there is inside a cow and how hot it is. Believe me, it’s hot in there. . . I don’t think it is an especially good way for people to bond, but in our situation it worked very well.”
Read more: ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’: What Is the Net Worth of Dr. Pol’s Son, Charles?
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