Growing up the youngest of six on a dairy farm in the Netherlands, star of National Geographic Wild’s, The Incredible Dr. Pol (Dr. Jan Pol), is no stranger when it comes to animals. As a child, he lived among dairy cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, rabbits, dogs and Friesian horses, to name a few, and helped deliver his first litter of piglets at the ripe age of 12. A defining moment as it would be for any young boy, that was when the young, pre-doctorate Jan Pol decided that there was no other career for him—that his life calling was a veterinary calling, spoken and delivered to him via a piglet delivery.
An enthusiastic and naturally-inclined scholar all around, Dr. Pol has been practicing veterinary medicine for over 35 years since graduating from Utrecht University in 1970. Opening the doors to his first practice in 1981 with his wife, Diane, Dr. Pol’s became an expert in large farm animals. Seeing the depleting dairy farms in Michigan, Dr. Pol knew that there weren’t any other veterinarians helping the farmers manage the health of their herds and made it his personal agenda to revive the herds and return profitability back to the farmers.
Through the years of his practice, Dr. Pol has seen an extremely wide array of animal injuries, from the common to the very peculiar (he recounts treating a snake that was chewed on by a rat, which actually should have been the snake’s food!). Dr. Pol along with his son Charles and his 10 employees have treated approximately 20,000 clients since opening their doors.
A firm believer in spaying and neutering animals, Dr. Pol continues to be active with his local philanthropic organizations 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America), non-profit charities that help teach young adults how to take proper care of animals. He believes that children who are taught to take care of animals at a young age make better adults.
When Dr. Pol isn’t working, he enjoys spending time with his wife discovering new and exotic destinations, scuba diving in the Caribbean and traveling across Europe.
Diane Pol was born in Mayville, Michigan, and met Jan Pol when he was a foreign exchange student at Mayville High School in 1961 during her senior year. Though they were only friends at first, their relationship evolved after they spent years writing to each other after Dr. Pol returned to the Netherlands. Dr. Pol invited Diane to visit him and meet his family, and the couple’s relationship became more serious. Though Diane had to return to Michigan while Dr. Pol finished his studies, they eventually married in1967. After living in Dr. Pol’s native country for a few years, the two immigrated back to United States and moved to Harbor Beach, Michigan. Diane received her master’s degree in Special Reading and taught in Lapeer and Harbor Beach Elementary Schools. In 1981, Diane and Jan moved from Harbor Beach to Weidman, Michigan, and started Pol Veterinary Services from their garage. Diane gave up teaching to help run the veterinary office and take care of their son and two daughters. Today, Diane works at Pol Veterinary Services as the office manager and bookkeeper, and she also enjoys teaching Sunday School at her church
Born and raised in Central Michigan’s farm country, Charles Pol was his father’s constant sidekick as a child. Starting at the age of 5, Charles began assisting his father at the clinic, helping out on farm calls and was also in charge of caring for the Pol family’s vast array of pets and farm animals. Though Charles enjoyed working with animals, he knew from an early age he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps, and his parents encouraged him to pursue a career he would love. In 2003, Charles graduated from University of Miami. He currently lives in Los Angeles, where he works in the entertainment industry
Dr. Brenda Grettenberger was born in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, in 1967. She grew up on a dairy farm and always had an interest in large animals. After graduating from Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1992, Dr. Brenda began working at Pol Veterinary Services. At the time, the majority of the business at Pol Veterinary Services was large animal medicine, and Dr. Brenda says it took time for some of the older farmers to adjust to having a female veterinarian. Though she did win the farmers over, the number of the dairy farms in the area began to decline, and Dr. Brenda began to treat more small animals. Like Dr. Pol, Dr. Brenda enjoys the mixed practice and plans to continue working at Pol Veterinarian Services for the unforeseeable future. When Dr. Brenda is not working, she enjoys dancing, reading and training her oxen to pull wagons