'The Incredible Dr. Pol' Celebrates National Rescue Dog Day: 'Who Saved Who?'

National Rescue Dog Day is observed on May 20th, according to nonprofit organization Tails That Teach, “to bring awareness to the countless number of amazing dogs in shelters waiting to be adopted.”

Dr. Jan Pol of Nat Geo Wild’s The Incredible Dr. Pol celebrated the day as well, with an Instagram post featuring a furry friend.

Dr. Pol has a favorite dog breed

While the Pol family loves all dog breeds and has owned several, they seem to favor one more than others: the Great Dane.

Dr. Pol said on his show, “We like big dogs. When Diane and I got married, we went for the Danes, and we have had Danes ever since. They are an even-tempered and easygoing breed.

“I think a kid that grows up with dogs probably will make better adults, because the dog will teach the children empathy, compassion. You just have to teach them that they can trust you and you can trust them. There’s a breed for everybody! I cannot imagine life without a dog.”

The famous vet is celebrating National Rescue Dog Day

Posting on Instagram this week, Dr. Pol featured a photograph of himself with a beloved Saint Bernard. His message on the post was brief and poignant: “Who saved who? Happy National Rescue Dog Day!”

A 2020 tweet expressed the popular vet’s love for his canines: “After a busy day’s work, it is so nice to come home to our Saint Bernard and Great Danes. I find it very relaxing to pet them as they bring a sense of peace and calm.”

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Dr. Pol’s own dog rescue story

In his 2014 memoir, Never Turn Your Back on an Angus Cow: My Life as a Country Vet, Dr. Pol shared a story of his own dog rescue that started out happily but unfortunately did not end that way.

“Many years ago, we rescued a beautiful metallic black Great Dane,” the Netherlands-born veterinarian wrote. “She was a nice dog; while she wasn’t exactly timid, she was docile. She attached herself to [Dr. Pol’s wife] Diane, who referred to her as ‘my black shadow.’ Wherever Diane went, this dog was right there behind her.”

He described that the dog came to a shocking end when, one Thanksgiving evening, they returned home to find that she had gotten out of a fenced-in backyard.

“By the time we got home, it was dark,” he wrote. “We couldn’t find her; she wasn’t in the garage or the backyard. We got in the car and drove around looking for her. We were concerned but there was nothing we could do that night.”

Tragically, the dog had been shot by someone in what the doctor hoped was not an intentional incident but perhaps a hunting accident, considering that he and his family live in a rural area of Michigan.

“I found her lying by our mailbox next to the road,” he said. “Someone had shot her with a high-powered rifle. We never had a clue why she was out there or why someone would have done that to such a sweet animal. It was deer season.”

Despite the circumstances that took his pet, Dr. Pol won’t give up on providing pets in need a home: “There’s a breed for everyone. I cannot imagine life without a dog.”

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