features

Sophie’s Choice: Supervet in the Field (TV Review)

Published by Student Rag:

Hearing the phrase “bionic supervet”, you’d be forgiven for assuming that pioneering veterinary surgeon Noel Fitzpatrick is some kind of superhero from a comic book. But you’d be wrong. This extraordinary vet is not a fictional character from a colourful comic strip but is in fact a real person who is changing the world of veterinary science and pioneering new treatments and technologies, the likes of some aren’t available even to humans in medical science.

Creating his own inventions with everything from bionic limbs built into the patient’s skeleton to ground-breaking spinal surgeries that make the lame walk once more, Fitzpatrick is a bit of a Doctor Victor Frankenstein for animals – except he uses his powers for good, not evil.

Audiences in the UK have been wowed by and hooked on Fitzpatrick’s previous show, Channel 4 documentary series Supervet. But this time around, the wacky, scruffy, Irish genius takes a step away from Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey and is now “in the field” hosting a festival celebrating the wonder of man’s best friend, dogs. As the event celebrates every size, shape and breed of dog from Chihuahua to Great Dane, Fitzpatrick also revisits some of his most challenging and memorable former patients who have made miraculous recoveries and were able to come along to meet other dogs, play games, practise tricks and go swimming at the huge outdoor dog festival.

The most inspiring thing about Noel Fitzpatrick’s work is surprisingly not his ingenious techniques and surgeries, his ability to bring an animal back to health from the brink of death or his determination to work a staggering seven days (often all day until the early hours in the morning) but it is in fact his overwhelming and astounding love for every animal, man, woman and child that walks into his practice.

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Image courtesy of The_Parasite via Flickr.

As we see Fitzpatrick gush about his love for animals, he maintains that although he has devoted his life to saving and improving the quality of life of all kinds of animals from working dogs and family pets to farm animals and exotic creatures – he still believes animals have brought him more joy than he could ever give them, and that all his work is just the beginning of him trying to pay them back for all they have given him.

Fitzpatrick’s love and devotion to animals, particularly dogs, is so awe-inspiring that it truly encourages the viewer to respect, love and cuddle our own pets even more. As we meet pet owners who in some way owe their life to animals – whether it is an assistance animal helping someone with a disability or a therapy dog helping someone recover from an accident – we realise how much animals really do for humans and the entire series acts as a reminder not to take our precious pooches and kitty cats for granted. As the credits roll at the end of Supervet in the Field, all I can think is: “The world needs more Noel Fitzpatricks’.”

Featured image courtesy of Irene Mei via Flickr.

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