‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’: Why the Vet Thinks Every Child Should Grow Up With a Pet

If you’ve watched The Incredible Dr. Pol at all, you know that, naturally, the show’s namesake, Dr. Jan Pol, is an animal lover. He and his family have several pets and feel strongly that every youngster should have a pet to care for.

Dr. Jan Pol of 'The Incredible Dr. Pol'
Dr. Jan Pol of ‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’ | Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic

“Should” is a strong word and many families don’t like the idea of an animal to care for because of the mess, the shedding of fur, claws damaging furniture, etc.

Here’s Dr. Pol’s reasoning for making a fur baby part of your family and home.

His son, Charles Pol, just recently adopted a Great Dane

Charles named his family’s new dog, Athena, and she is a beautiful Great Dane. The Pol family loves this breed and she arrived to just the right home.

Charles Pol’s wife with their Great Dane, Athena

“Great Danes are regal dogs,” the animal doctor said on his show. “They are just easygoing, a quiet, nice dog.”

Charles added, “The fact that my dad loves Great Danes is a huge influence on why I love Great Danes. It’s like once you go Great Dane, you’ll never go back. My family’s always had Great Danes my entire life, I grew up with these dogs.”

Charles’ dog before Athena

Dr. Pol’s son got emotional on the program talking about the dog he owned last before adopting Athena, another great Dane named Maeson.

“We all have that kind of dog that’s really our dog,” he said referring to his last Great Dane. “That was Maeson, and we had an amazing relationship. When I moved to Los Angeles and I started working, my dad called me up one day and said that Maeson was diagnosed with leukemia. I remember when I got off the plane, and I saw her, she was so happy. We had such a good week together.”

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Maeson eventually had to be euthanized, a heart-wrenching decision for Charles to make and carry out. He realized when he saw her after his return from L.A., that she had been waiting for him.

“She was hanging in there,” he recalled tearfully, “to say goodbye. We put her down, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life was having to put this dog down. I haven’t owned a dog since but I’ll always remember her, I’ll always have her. And that’s what Great Danes mean to me and that’s why I’m so excited to have another dog. I’m ready.”

Why every child needs a pet

The 77-year-old vet, as you can imagine, feels strongly that owning animals from a young age helps form responsible, compassionate adults. Is there a better reason to bring pets into a child’s life?

In a 2016 conversation with National Geographic, Dr. Pol elaborated on this thought, saying, “My philosophy is that I want kids to grow up with animals. 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.”

“If [kids] have a cat or a dog and mom or dad is scolding them,” he told dvm360, “they can go over there and cry in their fur. Also, when they’re very young and crawling around on the ground with the animal, they’re less apt to have allergies later in life.”

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