Many children dream of being a veterinarian and treating cute puppies and kittens -- but the reality of the job is much more than that. Premiering Saturday, Jan. 25, on NatGeo WILD, Heartland Docs, DVM, follows married Nebraska veterinarians into the muck and mire of treating all creatures great and small.
Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder met in veterinary school. Ben started out as a small-animal/exotic vet in Manhattan, Kansas, for a few years, but once he and Erin began in practice together, they headed for the country -- Hartington, Nebraska, in between Omaha, Nebraska, and Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Cedar County Veterinary Services treats patients in South Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.
At the recent TV Critics Association Press Tour in Pasadena, California, Dr. Ben Schroeder recalled: "We came back to my dad's practice, and I jumped in my vet truck, and I never looked back.
"I like to go out on the farm. I know Erin is right there with me all the time, going to these farm calls and checking out all the large animals in our area. That's really where my heart is."
And the two vets -- also parents to two teenage sons -- really treat all creatures.
Said Erin, "We see a lot of livestock; horses, cows, pigs, llamas, cats and dogs. What makes our situation really unique is that a lot of it is on a farm.
"Right now [back home], we're in a blizzard warning, with -17 degrees and seven inches of snow. So, if we were home, we would be doing something out in that."
Heartland Docs, DVM, airs at 10 ET/PT, and there's a reason for that. Parents should be aware that it's an unvarnished look at a large-animal vet's life. In the opening episode, the vets are forced to euthanize an ailing cow while attempting to successfully deliver her calf; and then they deal with a litter of piglets with "the squirts."
Future episodes involve gelding, cattle pregnancy checks, an artificial insemination on a dog, a canine C-section, cat ear mites, a terribly injured feline and even a newborn fawn.
Even though some of the cases may be hard to watch, the Schroeders' love of animals -- and humans -- comes through.
Said Erin, "Every day, in the human/animal bond that we all get to witness, every animal is a support animal. We all have that relationship.
"Ben's clients, when he has a family with 300 cows, those cows all mean something to that family. From the biggest to the smallest, it's universal."
Ben interjected, "Wait, so I thought that goat we just adopted was our new emotional support?"
His wife said, "Well, it is."
"We have a fainting goat," Ben continued. "You'll have to watch to see it, but it's pretty darn cute."
Take a look:
Photo: National Geographic/Glass Entertainment Group
Kate O’Hare, a longtime entertainment journalist, is Social Media Manager and blog editor at Family Theater Productions.