Former ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ Vet Dr. Emily Said Goodbye Recently to a Dear Furry Friend

If you’re an avid fan of The Incredible Dr. Pol, you’re probably familiar with a former staff veterinarian from Pol Veterinary Services: Dr. Emily Thomas.

A viewer favorite from the show’s earliest seasons, Dr. Emily, as she’s known, left Dr. Pol’s practice in 2020. Through her blog, she keeps her followers up-to-date on her family and her life.

Most recently, the veterinarian who’s comforted so many clients after losing a pet had to say goodbye to a beloved one of her own.

'The Incredible Dr. Pol' star Dr. Jan Pol is shown laughing during a publicity event
Dr. Jan Pol of Nat Geo Wild’s ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’, 2015 | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Soon before Dr. Emily interviewed to work with Dr. Pol at his clinic in Weidman, Michigan in 2015, she discovered she was pregnant. She got the job and the dedicated staffer worked at the clinic, visited farms, and helped cows, horses, and other large animals birth their babies.

Her first appearance on the reality show was in the Season 6 episode titled “Bugged Bunny.” Her final televised episode during Season 16, “A Pol New World,” was an emotional one as her family prepared to move on to a new start in Virginia.

Dr. Emily shared on her blog what led to her leaving Dr. Pol’s practice: “Eventually, the stress of working there with three small children, being on-call all the time, new vets coming and leaving just as fast, leaving the on-call duties spread between mostly two to three of us. I would spend my entire weekend I was on-call at the clinic,” she wrote.

How Dr. Emily met her Saint Bernard

On her blog (which now also features vlog posts with her husband Tony), Dr. Emily posted in January this year about the death of her beloved Saint Bernard, Merlin.

Merlin, she wrote, appeared in her family’s life seemingly out of nowhere, brought in to the veterinarian for medical care. Dr. Emily never dreamed she would adopt him, saying that probability was as unlikely as moving to Michigan to work with Dr. Pol had been at one time.

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“I never in my life thought about owning a Saint Bernard. They just weren’t on my radar, just like Michigan was never there for me to live,” she said.

Dr. Emily and Merlin crossed paths in her first vet job in South Carolina. The Saint Bernard at birth had been very sick, needing round-the-clock care with a mangled leg. His owner, although eager to see the dog thrive, felt euthanasia might be the only solution, so bleak was the puppy’s condition. Dr. Emily then did what she’s known for doing: she got the owner’s consent and took him home.

Despite being pregnant herself, living in a rental, and already having “two dogs, two cats, and two horses,” Merlin went home with her.

Dr. Emily’s loss of Merlin

At 9 years of age, Merlin with one hind leg began to suffer from “horrible hip dysplasia,” meaning his hip joint was becoming dislocated.

“I knew, even though we were very diligent about keeping his weight down, at 120lb, it was still only a matter of time before he completely tore his cruciate ligaments in his only knee and then it would be done,” she wrote.

Merlin, Dr. Emily said, was in great pain despite being on “three different pain medications, joint supplements he had been on his whole life, plus a few more.”

The vet described the moment she knew Merlin would have to be euthanized:

“When he would use every last bit of energy in his painful body to get to where ever I was in the house, I just knew he depended on me, how could I let him down? But finally, I stayed outside to watch him go to the bathroom, because now he was soaking his after-surgery wear every time he peed. To my horror, and with tears running down my face, I saw him drag himself to a spot and just sit and pee all over himself. I knew it was time.”

You can read Dr. Emily’s full blog post here.