By Jon Schroder:

My name is Jon Schroder and I am the co-creator and producer of the Incredible Dr. Pol show. As a precursor to the following text, I should mention that I spend roughly five to six months out of the year in Michigan filming the show. The rest of the year I reside in Los Angeles with my wife Megan and our 13-year-old pit bull Hazel in the beach community of Venice.

Over the course of the three seasons working on the show, I’ve seen countless people struggle with the decision to euthanize their pets. Whether it’s a horse, dog, cat, rat, or rabbit, the decision is extremely difficult and often times emotionally devastating to the pet’s owners. And each and every time, Dr. Pol handles the euthanization with compassion and professionalism. His bedside manner as put by one of his clients is “impeccable” to say the least.

A couple of months ago, my wife and I decided it may be time to put down our dog after her health and quality of life quickly declined. As a “farewell” to our beloved pet, my wife and I rented desert cabana near Joshua Tree National Park as a way of having one last vacation together. The vacation was bittersweet as we embraced having Hazel around for one last weekend but also came to terms that it may be our last one “as a family” as my wife likes to call us.

Prior to our vacation, we took Hazel to a veterinarian in Los Angeles. This particular veterinarian tested Hazel for everything under the sun. In spite of our efforts, Hazel’s health continued to decline rapidly. Not only was the dog’s health declining, the coarse of treatment was vague, impersonal, and UBER expensive.

At this point, I decided it was time for The Incredible DR. Pol to step in… Throughout Hazel’s decline in health, Dr. Pol counseled me over the phone. However, there was no way he could accurately diagnose Hazel without seeing her in person. So, naturally, I did what any desperate, dog-loving person would do: I drove from Los Angeles to Central Michigan in order for Dr. Pol to treat her in person.

For Hazel, Megan, and myself, this was a “win-win” situation. If Dr. Pol recommended euthanizing Hazel, I would feel 100 percent confident in the decision. Secondly, if there is one veterinarian in the world who could save our Hazel, surely it’s the Incredible Dr. Pol.

On the morning I packed my vehicle, Hazel could barely move her hind legs and lost all control of her bladder and bowel movements. I prepared myself for a long and difficult trip, hoping that she could to muster enough strength to stay alive over the course of the next 40 hours on the road.

Then, somewhere near western Colorado, Hazel climbed from the backseat of the SUV and sat next to me in the front seat. The next several hours, she would rotate between laying her head on my lap, followed by curiously looking out the window at the majestic Rocky Mountain scenery. There were moments when her ears would perk up, her eyes would widen, and her body language resembled “the old Hazel” when she was healthy and full of life.

That night, when we checked into the hotel, Hazel ate her dog food for the first time in nearly a month. The next morning, her tail was wagging as she eagerly anticipated a walk along side the Colorado River. Throughout the month, my wife and I had seen moments of brief recoveries followed by awful declines. While I was happy in the moment, I wasn’t overly optimistic the brief recovery would last.

Once we arrived in Michigan, Hazel had recuperated to the point where I actually felt silly for driving her 2,500 miles to see Doc. However, Hazel was not completely out of the woods yet as she struggled with her bladder control and other ailments that I would rather not describe.

The following morning I took Hazel into Pol Vet Services where she received treatment from all hands on deck. Of course, Dr. Pol took the lead and was nothing short if incredible. Even though I have filmed countless clinic and farm call appointments with the good doctor, nothing compared to seeing him in action treating Hazel. Dr. Pol was in his zone. Hazel and I were at the center of his universe. He dedicated 100 percent of his focus and energy into treating and diagnosing Hazel. It’s something I’ve never felt while standing behind the camera, and it’s a feeling I will never forget.

As for Hazel, she was diagnosed with a myriad of complicated, age-related health issues, all stemming from one thing… SEPERATION ANXIETY! Dr. Pol’s remedy: spend as much time with Hazel as possible. Rest assured, that’s one remedy that I’ll have no problem accommodating.

On behalf of Megan, myself, and Hazel, thank you Dr. Pol, Dr. Brenda, and everyone at Pol Veterinary Services for providing Hazel with the best care available. All of you are truly incredible!