‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’: NatGeo WILD’s ’12 Days of Dr. Pol’ Is Almost Here

There is very little that 76-year-old veterinarian Dr. Jan Pol hasn’t seen or done in his 50 years of practicing animal medicine. Viewers have strongly connected with the animal doctor and his family on The Incredible Dr. Pol, and the ratings show it.

So NatGeo WILD wants to treat audiences with — what else — “12 Days of Dr. Pol” starting Dec. 23. Here’s what we know about the famous veterinarian.

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

Dr. Pol looks back at how his show got its start

The Pols’ son, Charles, had a major hand in seeing his father’s practice become part of reality TV fandom. In fact, Charles is one of the program’s producers and a regular cast member. His love for filmmaking and television drew him to the Los Angeles film scene.

Discussing how the veterinarian’s sudden fame came about, the crew of The Incredible Dr. Pol reminisced with NatGeo WILD.

“Charles was infatuated with movies, looks like from the day he was born,” Dr. Pol said.

Charles interjected: “I worked within the feature film industry for about five years. Then the writers’ strike happened and the opportunities just weren’t there like they were before.”

“One day it just sort of dawned upon us,” co-executive producer Jonathan Schroder said. “We said, ‘If your dad is as crazy and as awesome as you say and his personality is larger than life like you say, why don’t we go out to Michigan for a few days and see if we can shoot a sizzle reel.'”

Dr. Pol’s wife, Diane, recalled her husband saying, “Why would anyone want to do a reality show about me? I’m an old man. I stick my hand up the back end of a cow.”

NatGeo WILD liked what it saw

Dr. Pol agreed to help out his son. “I thought, oh well, yes. Let’s do what he likes us to do, and that’s it, nobody cares,” he said. “Charles and his friends came over with a professional film cameraman and they shot what we do for about a week.”

NatGeo WILD saw what Charles had seen in his dad — and loved it.

“I knew this guy is the kind of guy you can base a television series off of: Loud. Easy with a laugh, easy with a smile,” Schroder said. “I had more doubts about our ability to keep up with Dr. Pol, and to capture the story because I knew we had the talent.”

Eight years and 15 seasons later, The Incredible Dr. Pol is still going strong.

’12 Days of Dr. Pol’

For its part, NatGeo WILD released a clever promotion for 12 Days of Dr. Pol with a jingle that sang:

“On the 12th day of Christmas, Pol viewers will have seen / 12 pigs-a-squealin’/ 11 llamas spitting / 10 chickens shaking / 9 horse castrations / 8 puppy checkups / 7 baby birthings / 6 bird beak trimmings / 5 bloated cows / 4 colic cases / 3 cats with fleas / 2 pregnant goats / and a dog that ate the Christmas tree lights!”

Tune in to the 12 Days of Dr. Pol marathon beginning Monday, Dec. 23, on NatGeo WILD. The show’s 16th season premieres in January.

Happy ‘Pol’-idays!

Read more: ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’: What Is His Net Worth and What Is the Veterinarian’s Ethnicity?