Calling Dr. Pol

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Calling Dr. Pol TV Poster Image
Veterinarian's work makes for decent family fare.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

The show spotlights hard-working people whose jobs make a difference in other people's lives. The concept of community is a common thread, as Dr. Pol talks about how rewarding it is for him to do work that helps his neighbors do theirs. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Dr. Pol and his staff work long hours to meet their clients' needs, and they obviously take pleasure in their work. Not only are they good in their field, they also enjoy strong personal relationships with their patients' owners. Dr. Pol's veterinary partner is a woman.

Violence

No violence, but some animals' injuries are shown briefly, and the doctors talk about illnesses and infections. When it's relevant, they also touch on the realities of life and death, and the subject of euthanasia is raised. 

Sex

Breeding practices and insemination are part of the conversation when those services are needed. Viewers might never see Dr. Pol's internal exams on the animals, but what's happening is implied by the arm-length glove and general proximity to the animals' sensitive areas. 

Language
Consumerism

Pol Veterinary Services gets plenty of publicity.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Calling Dr. Pol shadows a rural veterinarian team on farm calls and in the office to care for animals of all sizes and shapes. Although there's no violence in the show, you will glimpse some injuries and hear the details of illnesses, and some animals are shown in distress. Older kids will understand the realistic nature of what they're seeing, but younger kids might need some reassuring. Some cases also warrant references to euthanasia, as well as potentially confusing topics such as insemination and breeding, so be prepared to field related questions. Dr. Pol's charisma and ability to relate to his patients and their people makes him a favorite in his town, and he has cross-generational appeal.

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What's the story?

CALLING DR. POL spotlights the work of Dr. Jan Pol, a mixed-animal veterinarian who's a veritable celebrity in his small town in Michigan, where he cares for more than 19,000 patients ranging from farm animals to small house pets. No two days are the same around Pol Veterinary Services, and the variety of clients' needs keeps Dr. Pol and his associate, Dr. Brenda Grettenberger, hopping. The work truly is a family affair, with Pol's wife, Diane, manning the office and their son, Charles, assisting on farm calls. 

Is it any good?

Calling Dr. Pol is cut from much the same cloth as the camera-friendly vet's first TV series, The Incredible Dr. Pol. It captures the essence of the hustle-bustle pace the good doctor keeps, while interjecting other things, such as his mentoring a veterinary student and watching Charles take a polar plunge for a charitable cause. Because the course of his days is determined by his patients' needs, it's hard to predict what any one episode has in store -- for him or his viewers.

Dr. Pol has won over many viewers with the genuine joy he seems to get from his work and his old-school approach to veterinary medicine, but that same laid-back attitude also has stirred up controversy. Nevertheless, he remains a decent example of hard work and success, and the show is a moderately entertaining vehicle for learning something about animal care and veterinary practices. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how veterinarians care for animals that are sick or injured. What tools and supplies do they use in each case? What special skills does the doctor need to be good at this job? 

  • Kids: Why is proper pet care important? If you have pets, what special needs do they have? Are you able to fill them? 

  • Does this series attempt to teach you anything? Are you able to process the facts that pop up on the screen? Is it at all important that the TV you watch is educational? 

TV details

Themes & Topics

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For kids who love animals

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