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Dr. Pol shares 'Incredible' life with animals

Luaine Lee, Tribune News Service on

Published in Cats & Dogs News

His wife of 50 1/2 years, Diane, works with him in the clinic. Together they've treated 25,000 patients. While he does his best to save every creature, he says there are times when it's better to let them go.

"I will not recommend chemo for animals," he shakes his head. "To me it is selfish. Animals are not afraid to die. And when they have cancer and it's inoperable, let them go. You can never find the same animal again, but that doesn't mean you can't love another animal just as much. There are lots of animals around that need attention."

He says there often comes a point when your live-in love transforms from being a pet to becoming a pest. "The tolerance of the people decides when a pet becomes a pest," he says.

"When an animal becomes a pest for himself -- when they get old and can't get up and poop on the floor, they feel that, and then they become a pest for themselves. So it is something I try to instill in people: Look at the animal. They'll tell you when it's time to go."

Pol admits he shares the stereotype of his fellow countrymen as in the adage "hard-headed Dutchman." And he recalls when he first began the TV series, one of the producers suggested he fake a little something with the animal. "I said, 'No!' He said, 'If you do this people will love that.'

"'I don't care. I am a veterinarian. This is my patient. If you want to film it, be my guest. But I'm not doing anything to an animal for your show.' That's one of the reasons why this show is so popular, because what you see is real," he says.

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He's gratified by the response he receives from viewers all over the world and the fact that fans recognize him wherever he goes. But Pol says it isn't the animals he's serving. "I like to say, 'We work on animals, but we help people.'"


Creator and show runner Patrick Walsh has come up with an idea for a sitcom: What if a guy tried to live his life strictly according to the Bible? The result is CBS's new series, "Living Biblically," premiering next Monday. Walsh confesses he was a bit worried the show might prompt some criticism. "I don't think there is any scenario where the show wouldn't bother someone in the world," he says.

"But it is absolutely not the goal. And even those of us who aren't religious, I think have a great deal of respect for religion and what it's trying to do. And it's strange to me that in doing research for the show, 84 percent of the world aligns themselves with some form of religion, and yet the only times you hear religion discussed on television are either harshly critical, like a Bill Maher, or so sanitized that people who are not religious would never enjoy it, like "7th Heaven," or something like that. No criticism of that show, which I have not seen."


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