‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’s Dr. Jan Pol Looks Back on His Childhood and the Young Fan Who Melted His Heart

Dr. Jan Pol and wife, Diane
Dr. Jan Pol and wife, Diane | Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

Born in the Netherlands in 1942, Dr. Jan Pol, the star of The Incredible Dr. Pol, inherited his love of animals and their care from his family.

As he tells it, his upbringing was a simple one, yet supremely happy.

It’s evident in Pol’s own family life and his work ethic as seen on his top-rated reality show on Nat Geo Wild – and in the fan who captured the popular veterinarian’s heart.

Dr. Pol lived in the Netherlands most of his life

Dr. Pol grew up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands, where he was responsible for many of the animals. Even at his young age, under 10, he was expected to do his part on the busy farm.

“I grew up in a place very, very remote. I was the youngest of six,” Pol said in a recent Twitter video. “We were self-sufficient. We had pigs, we had chickens, my mother had a garden, we had the cows, the horses. And that’s how I grew up.”

He and his wife started their vet practice in Michigan

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Dr. Pol’s wife Diane has been his full partner at his Michigan clinic since Day One. Her organization and administrative talent keep the office running smoothly and with a minimum of chaos.

“My first experience after graduating was working for a veterinarian in Harbor Beach, Michigan,” Dr. Pol told Today’s Veterinary Practice in 2012. “However, my wife, Diane, and I were eager to start our own practice here in Weidman, Michigan. When the practice opened in 1981, 80% of our practice was dairy, with the remaining 20 percent equine and small animals.

“We worked out of a room built in the corner of the garage until the practice outgrew that small space. Diane and I managed to buy more property next door and build a clinic—a double-wide trailer, which was all we could afford with interest rates close to 20 percent.”

The fan who captured Dr. Pol’s heart

When his reality show premiered in 2011, Dr. Pol, his family, and staff could never have imagined the reach their program would have around the globe. Fans tweet their Pol-love on the show’s Twitter account from countless countries.

There’s something about Dr. Pol and his staff and how efficiently and compassionately they care for their clients that has resonated with fans.

“Did we ever expect that we would have fans all over the world?,” Dr. Pol said on Twitter. “No, of course not. The fans that come to the clinic are fantastic. Things like this I really appreciate so much; I can’t tell how much.”

The doctor, born in 1942, then described one fan who recently made quite an impression on him and his staff.

“One of the fans who came all the way from Florida I still remember very well,” he said. “It was a 13-year-old boy by the name of Lucas with a kidney problem.

“And his Make-A-Wish was to meet Dr. Pol. I took him out to see the horses. And the horse lowered her head so he can pet her. And that smile on his face was unbelievable! I still can see it; for the rest of the afternoon, that smile never left his face. Those are the things that I cherish.”