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Most new viewers of Nat Geo Wild’s The Incredible Dr. Pol are almost always caught off guard by the star Dr. Jan Pol’s ability to wrestle with bulls, horses, goats, and cows, as well as ornery household cats and other pets – all at his current age of 78.

Neither Dr. Pol nor his hit program show any signs of slowing down. His son Charles, an executive producer on Dr. Pol, revealed the secret to his father’s indefatigable spirit and energy.

'The Incredible Dr. Pol' Dr. Jan Pol poses alongside a goat.
‘The Incredible Dr. Pol’s Dr. Jan Pol with a couple of friends | KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP via Getty Images

Dr. Pol was almost 70 when the Nat Geo Wild reality show began

In a conversation with TV Shows Ace, Charles Pol talked about his dad’s early years on the show. Even back in 2011, when the program began, it was both startling and impressive to see a man of Dr. Pol’s age navigate strenuous situations with a smile on his face.

“When we first started, he was in really good health for his age, and that’s where the name ‘incredible’ came from was that everyone was just blown away by this guy and his energy level at his age,” Charles said. “I think he was 69 at the time when we started. And he started slowing down a couple of years ago with his ankle and decided to get that ankle surgery and ever since then, it’s been a revitalized Dr. Pol. It gave him another spring to a step.”

And Charles reports that his father’s energy hasn’t flagged. In fact, if anything, Dr. Pol’s love for his work and community has increased his spark for it.

“I’ve seen him the last few years actually hit his energy level, kind of returned back to where it was almost where we started,” he said. “I mean, the guy’s got endless energy, even more than I do. And he’s 36 years my senior.”

Charles says this is the secret to his father’s limitless energy

As for what keeps his father going, Charles plainly pointed to his father’s tenacity.

“He says never give up, never give up,” the younger Pol said. “That’s his secret. He is old school, he really is. Do not forget that Dr. Pol was born in 1942 in the Netherlands which probably resembled 1890 America more than it did 1940 America. You know what I mean?”

Dr. Pol’s memoir Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow backs up Charles’ thoughts. The veterinarian in his book described addressing a group of “almost 2500 people,” telling them “that the most important advice I could give them was ‘Never give up on your dreams. If there are molehills in the way, walk over them. And if your job is like a hobby, then you’ll never work a day in your life – and they’ll still pay you for it, too.”

‘Dr. Pol’ is an international hit


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The show’s appeal isn’t limited to the 50 states, Charles said. His dad’s program has fans worldwide as well.

“We saw a lot of people just very interested in Dr. Pol,” Charles said. “And we have a huge international following all across the world, Brazil, Italy, Belgium. We started seeing a lot of people responding from there. We started seeing people from the United States and Canada getting into the videos that we’re producing.”