This past Sunday, Animal Planet lured television viewers away from the Denver Broncos victory in Super Bowl 50 to watch puppies tussle over squeaky toys in Puppy Bowl XII. Later this year, however, the same network will showcase a different kind of challenge: the rigors of attaining a degree from the School of Veterinary Medicine.
The production company High Noon is set to begin filming a docu-series at Penn Vet’s Ryan Veterinary Hospital and New Bolton Center Hospital that will air on Animal Planet. By shadowing a group of fourth-year Penn Vet students, the show will provide a behind-the-scenes look at the training, excitement, and intensity that are part of learning how to provide high-quality veterinary care.
“I’m always looking for ways to communicate what we do to a broad audience,” says Penn Vet Dean Joan Hendricks. “People may think veterinarians are nice because they work with cats and dogs, but it’s rare that they really understand the rigor of the training or complexity of the field itself. This show is going to give us a chance to throw open our doors and show off this world that we all live in and how much we care about what we do.”
The show has been years in the making. A grateful client with a background in television production connected the Penn Vet communications team with High Noon, which landed the Animal Planet series this winter.
Filming is scheduled to begin this month and will continue through Commencement in May to capture the fourth-year students moving into the next stage of their careers.
Many safeguards have been put in place to protect the privacy of clients bringing pets to Penn’s veterinary hospitals, and to ensure uninterrupted quality care. Signs will be posted to alert visitors that filming is taking place. Where possible, if the production team would like to feature a case, they will contact clients in advance to seek permission to film. In emergency cases, the producers will seek permission from clients after filming, at a less stressful time.
“Patient care and student education will always come first,” Hendricks says.
The series will consist of six one-hour episodes, set to premiere on Animal Planet later this year.