‘Vetsgiving’ – A little love for veterinarians

Nat Geo Wild programming block pays tribute

Dr. Joya Griffin

At a time when the pandemic has hampered our ability to work, travel and even relate to one another, the importance of the human-animal connection to our overall well-being has never been more apparent. And in the week of Thanksgiving, Nat Geo Wild lauds the professionals who keep our furry friends healthy with its annual “Vetsgiving” celebration.

Airing Monday through Sunday, Nov. 22-28, each night of the event offers up a four-hour block of the veterinarian series “Heartland Docs, DVM,” “Critter Fixers: Country Vets,” “Hatcher Family Dairy,” “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” “Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet” and “Vets on the Beach,” as well as a sneak peek at the new series “Pop Goes the Vet With Dr. Joya.”

That series, which airs Thursday, Nov. 25, in advance of its official 2022 premiere, follows Kentucky-based veterinary dermatologist Dr. Joya Griffin as she and her protege Dr. Jeff treat everything from hair loss and earwax to lumps and oozing cysts. It’s a little-known specialty that Griffin herself wasn’t aware of until she had a dog with a persistent skin problem.

“One thing I hear over and over again,” Griffin explains, “is that my clients come to me, my pet moms and dads, and they say, ‘I didn’t even know a dermatologist existed.’ And so part of me was wanting to tell that story, that we are out there and that 50 percent of the cases that a general practitioner will see have to do with the ears and the skin. And when they get a little complicated, I’m here to help and solve those major skin and ear issues. And so we’re sometimes not known about, and I’m happy to tell our story.”

According to Janet Van Vissering, senior vice president of development and production for National Geographic Channels, an obscure discipline such as Griffin’s is exactly the type of content the broadcaster is looking to spotlight.

“Every pet owner at some point will have some kind of dermatological issue with their pet if you have them for a while,” she says. “And I know that similar to when a human has a lump or a bump, you just go to the worst-case scenario. And I thought, there’s got to be a doctor who does this. And we did a search and, lo and behold, Dr. Joya just fell into our lap.”

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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