The Incredible Dr. Pol TV Poster Image

The Incredible Dr. Pol



Rural vet's life is positive entertainment for older kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

There are great messages throughout the show about taking pride in your work, putting your talents to good use, and helping others. Dr. Pol is selfless with his time and shows compassion toward his patients. The series' setting in rural Michigan exposes viewers to the realities of farm life and encourages respect for the challenges that face those who grow and produce the food we eat.

Positive role models

It's easy to admire Dr. Pol in both the professional and the personal sense. He works hard at a job that he loves, he appreciates his coworkers, he's a champion for animals, and he's a dedicated family man.


Scenes aren't violent, but cameras follow Dr. Pol as he performs surgical procedures on animals large and small, so there's a good deal of blood and close-up views of draining abscesses, cuts, prolapsed organs, and a host of other maladies. Many of the scenarios are life and death for the animals, and the farmers and doctors talk frankly about the patients' chances for survival. Animals are shown in pain and frightened. Sensitive areas are blurred by the camera, as when the doctor forces a bulging uterus back through a cow's vagina.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this reality series follows a veterinarian on routine exams and emergency farm calls, and cameras capture the dramatic moments as he works to save the lives of animals of all shapes and sizes. Although the changing nature of the content makes it hard to predict its appropriateness for younger viewers, you can expect a fair amount of blood and other bodily fluids as doctors work to save animals teetering between life and death due to illness or injury. This is a real know-your-kid situation, since many of the medical procedures (draining abscesses, sewing stomachs to the inside of a belly, and anesthetizing an aggressive animal, for instance) may confuse and potentially frighten youngsters who aren't familiar with them, but if this is part of your family's culture (through farming, for instance), it won't have the same effect. If your kids can handle the content, though, this is a great series you can both enjoy, and there are quality messages about the rewards of hard work, respectful living, and fostering good relationships.

What's the story?

Farmers in rural Michigan lay claim to a veterinary legend in Dr. Jan Pol, a seventy-something modern-day James Herriott whose dedication to his some 18,000 patients (and their people) is an anomaly in modern medicine. Whether it's a dog suffering the effects of a run-in with a porcupine or a cow with a life-threatening case of pneumonia, Dr. Pol treats every patient with kindness and a no-nonsense attitude that endears him to the farmers and pet owners who trust him with their animals. The series follows Dr. Pol in the exam room and on farm calls as he works tirelessly to keep the animals in good health and the farmers seeing profits. Dr. Pol's team includes his wife and office manager, Diane; his son, Charles, who's visiting from California to help out in the clinic; and Dr. Brenda Grettenberger.

Is it any good?


There are few TV personalities who model the good life quite like Dr. Pol. A relentless go-getter with impressive stamina, he's generous with his time and uses his considerable skills and knowledge to help others. The effect of the care he gives extends beyond the animals he treats, and he takes as much pride in helping the farming community stay profitable as he does in bringing a patient back from the brink of death.

THE INCREDIBLE DR. POL is positive, life-affirming reality TV that's great for families, but only if your kids can handle the true-to-life drama that surrounds the doc's work. The series doesn’t shy away from showing close-ups of surgeries and medical procedures like manual replacements of prolapsed organs or taking a rectal temperature, and it does raise the issue of death when the content warrants it. If your kids are OK with this kind of thing, though, this is a worthwhile series that has great messages about personal fulfillment and strong communities.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about communities. What kinds of jobs are essential to the success of a community? How do people rely on each other? What happens to a community if a few of the people leave?

  • Kids: What do you want to be when you grow up? What personal fulfillment do you hope to get from the job? Is money a factor in your decision? Why or why not? How will you be able to help others in this career?

  • What can we learn from reality shows like this one? What do you think was Dr. Pol's motivation in doing this show? Is it possible to get an accurate sense of a person's character through the TV screen? Does Dr. Pol seem believable?

TV details

Premiere date:October 29, 2011
Cast:Jan Pol
Network:National Geographic Channel
Genre:Reality TV
Character strengths:Empathy
TV rating:NR

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Adult Written byCcbean November 9, 2011

Unsure of methodology

I can't say that I dislike Dr Pol, he's a very likable charector. I am in the medical profession and question his tactics. If he is trying to save some of these animals that have died on his program, he is not doing all he can for them. If he is dealing with permissions because a family can't afford the treatment, that is all together a different story. If that be they case he gives them comfort care and that is humane. After watching a show where a puppy was mawled and he did nothing because he was in shock? I disagree.
Parent Written byHalli October 30, 2011

WOW! Best show in a long time.

Six hundred-plus shows on t.v and I could easily walk away from most . . . except Dr. Pol. The previews didn't catch my attention but when the show aired, it was amazing! I have three horses, four dogs, chickens, cats and volunteer at the local animal shelter. I LOVED THIS SHOW and plan on watching all the shows that I can. I was later than I ususally stay up but was compelled to finish the show. Then, another hour was about to air. I had to watch that one too. I'm sure that there are critics out there that have never lived on a farm and think that all cows each have to have their own pillow and blankie. Get the animal's perspective people.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent Written byAngieDM December 26, 2011

educational and real life!

My children (5 years and 9 years old) love the show. We have 4 episodes on DVR and they have watched each one several times. My 5 year old LOVES animals and this is much better than the "junk" on TV these days. I am happy to see it!! Keep it coming! Sometimes I think we let our kids see so many sexual thinkgs on TV, even a soda or car commercial has to sell sex! What is wrong with this world? This show tells it like it is! We can protect our kids, sure, but we shouldn't let them live under a rock either!! She may even want to be a vet someday.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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