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Dr. Jan Pol of Nat Geo Wild’s The Incredible Dr. Pol is, as his son Charles Pol told the network in pitching the hit show idea to them, a character.

The elder Pol is full of life, purpose, and as far as he’s concerned, while his clinic in Weidman, Michigan is a business, for him it’s all about the animals.

Here’s what we know about his age, the possibility of his retirement, and the fate of his hit reality series.

Dr. Jan Pol of 'The Incredible Dr. Pol'
Dr. Jan Pol of ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Dr. Pol got started young as a veterinarian

Although Dr. Pol didn’t receive his licensing as a veterinarian until 1970, when he graduated that year from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, he’s actually been working with animals almost all his life.

Dr. Jan Pol (rear center) and his future wife, Diane (rear right)

Born into a farming family, Dr. Pol was surrounded by animals early on and was hands-on with his four-legged family before he could even speak.

In fact, the father of three feels it’s a wonderful way for all children to grow up.

“My philosophy is that I want kids to grow up with animals,” Dr. Pol said to National Geographic in 2016. “When kids grow up with animals, they make better adults. Especially when kids are very young, they are often taking care of animals or playing with animals, even before they can walk sometimes. This is what people don’t realize, how much animals can teach humans.”

Dr. Pol on that ‘Incredible’ title

Dr. Pol and his wife, Diane, have been running their practice since 1981. Once their popular reality show began on Nat Geo Wild, it grew exponentially.

He explained to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2018 that the network chose to name the show The Incredible Dr. Pol, a name that made him cringe.

“I’m not incredible,” he said. “I don’t know everything. If I don’t know it, I will try to look it up. Someone else has done it before. When you see me sewing up that boa constrictor, I didn’t know what anesthetic to use. I had to look it up.” 

Will Dr. Pol’s practice continue running once he retires?

Dr. Pol, now age 77, is still wrestling bulls, castrating horses, and chasing goats with the verve of other veterinarians half his age. But how long can that vigor be maintained? And who would take over his practice when he and Diane decide to retire and perhaps travel the world?

Dr. Brenda Grettenberger, lower left

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Dr. Brenda Grettenberger, who at 52, has been with Dr. Pol’s practice since receiving her veterinary license in 1992, is a possible replacement for the incredible vet.

“I don’t know. Maybe they’ll keep running it for a while,” he told The Chicago Tribune in 2018. “Brenda has a bad knee so I’m not sure if she would stay with the large-animal part. The small animal part they would probably keep doing. We’re not a superpractice, but people come to us because of the care they’re getting. We care about animals.”