Are you a fan of the Critter Fixers: Country Vets on Nat Geo Wild? Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be the Critter Fixers? While chatting with Dr. Terrence Ferguson and Dr. Vernard Hodges about their recent partnership with Hill’s on their Annual End Pet Obesity Campaign, we got to learn more about what being on TV has meant for their business and practice.
During our chat, we talked about everything from why Hill’s is a great tool for pet parents and veterinarians looking to not only help a dog lose weight, but also maintain that weight, to how changing a diet can be both good and bad. Of course, with so much information from both Dr. Hodges and Dr. Ferguson, there was no way we could stick to one piece.
With the primary focus on the Hill’s End Pet Obesity Campaign, we wanted to make sure that our initial discussion was all about that and of course pet obesity. (Check out the first part of our interview with the Critter Fixers here.) But, there is something about chatting with veterinarians that has me wanting to know more. So I wanted to know how being on TV has changed things for both doctors and what they wish more people knew about being veterinarians.
Here’s what we learned:
The Critter Fixers talk about being veterinarians, being on TV, and even what breed of dog they would be
According to Dr. Hodges this is what being on TV has done for their practice and even for him:
"We always treated all varieties of animals being in the country. You treat everything, because we don’t have a specialist within two hours south, east, north, or west, so we have to figure out exactly what’s going on. What is the skink, which I have in here now, sugar glider or whatever. So, we just get a lot more of those. And you get calls from all around the country. Now, I had a lady call from New York, asking something about her Pit just yesterday. I was like what? I am sure there is a veterinarian between here and New York that can answer those questions. But you know, also being noticed, being in a small town you’re used to going to the grocery store, and someone tapping me on the shoulder to say, Hey, Dr. Hodges, but I’m not used to going to the airport and the people from TSA saying, Hey, Doc put you stuff on here and I’m looking like are they talking to me. How do these people from TSA know who I am? So that definitely has changed."
So what has being on TV been like for Dr. Ferguson? Pretty much the same, but here’s what he had to say about it.
"You know, like he said, being noticed. We’re definitely busier and continuing to get busier. People from just all over the country call or want our veterinary services and I’m like, there are veterinarian services between here and wherever you are. I had a lady once who called and had a dog that had a torn knee ligament and she wanted to put her dog on a plane, fly to Atlanta for me to pick it up. Then do surgery, take it back to Atlanta, put it on the plane and then ship it back to her. And that’s probably not gonna be the best compliance, you know, we’ve got rechecks that need to be done. So, you know, it’s good that people see and they have a lot of confidence in us by seeing what we do every day. But, it’s definitely different than it was a few years ago."
When it comes to being a veterinarian, we wanted to know what the Critter Fixers wished people knew about their job and career. And according to Dr. Hodges,
"We started a program called Vet for a Day. And the reason is, a lot of people want to be veterinarians. They just don’t know how, their parents don’t know how. They don’t understand that you have to study the science. It’s got to have really good grades because there’s only 31 veterinary schools in the whole country. So it’s very competitive to get in. So the thing we started with these Vet for a Day programs, where we go around the country, I think we were going to 20 cities, because we were meeting with kids from 12 to 15 and explained to them and their parents, because we want both of them, that you need the sciences. We have academic advisors and tell them, these are the core courses you need. These are the things you need to apply for. And just so they understand what it takes to even get in veterinary school, because if you don’t get in to veterinarian school you definitely won’t ever be a veterinarian, unfortunately."
After chatting about their partnership with Hill’s to help end pet obesity, what it’s like to be on TV, and what they want people to know about being a veterinarian, we had to end the interview with the most important Dog O’Day question there is: What breed of dog would you be and why.
Dr. Hodges was the first to answer and according to him, he would be “a Frenchie, because I have Frenchies and Frenchies are just a different breed. They’re cuddly, they’re warm, and they give that stare. So I’d be a Frenchie.”
And Dr. Ferguson definitely agreed with his choice, calling it a “good one.” But what would Dr. Ferguson be if he was a breed of dog? Well, according to him, “I would definitely want to be a big breed so somewhere between maybe a Mastiff and a Great Dane or something. I’d just get to lay around the house all day. I can look mean and vicious but I’m gonna be a teddy bear.”