Supervet Noel tries to save his beloved dog
Thursday: Supervet Special: Saving My Dog (Channel 4, 8pm)
If you’re one of Professor Noel Fitzpatrick’s millions of fans, you will probably know all about his very close relationship with his own pets, Maine Coon cat Ricochet and Border terrier Keira.
“They have given me all the love in the world,” the Irish surgeon, 52, says.
“When the darkness of the world is closing in and I’m in bits, I lie on my bed with Ricochet or Keira, or both of them.”
It’s been 15 years since the nation’s favourite vet began expanding the boundaries of veterinary medicine in Surrey, and his soulmate – the inimitable “ball of furry joy” Keira, has been by his side all the way.
“She’s as big a reason that Fitzpatrick Referrals exists as I am,” he adds. “She is my muse. When I think about any animal that comes through these doors, I think how would I treat her. She never ceases to make me happy. I love her more than I can describe – a deep connectedness that I can only feel and can’t adequately express.”
However, in September 2020, Noel’s life was turned upside down when 13-year-old Keira was hit by a van outside his practice.
He recalled hearing his terrier’s body explode in front of him after the vehicle came speeding around the corner.
“I heard the cracking and ripping of bones breaking and flesh tearing as she screamed. I screamed. I thought the tyre had driven over her back end and she was dead.”
Suddenly, the surgeon, renowned for finding solutions for even the most challenging injuries, had to steel himself for the most important surgery of his life and face the possibility that his beloved Keira may not be fixable.
Tonight’s programme, the first in a new 16th series of The Supervet tells the emotional and heart-rending story of the dog’s fight for life.
It follows every intense, fraught and dramatic step – from just after the horrifying accident through each emotional stage of Keira’s treatment – as a distraught Noel and his team jump into action and stabilise her life-threatening injuries.
Having sustained a ruptured abdominal lining and urinary bladder, a crushed sacrum and pelvis and a dislocated hip, Noel’s colleagues work tirelessly to repair extensive internal damage.
Following two blood transfusions and days of intensive care, Noel faces an agonising wait to determine not only what intricate surgery may be possible for her skeleton, but also whether Keira will be able to withstand the procedures which could allow her to walk again.
Before Noel prepares to operate on his best friend, he devises a custom implant to repair her broken bones. However, Keira is not just any patient, and things are understandably personal for the normally ice-cool vet.
“You don’t compartmentalise [while operating] to be the client, to be the parent of the animal is a new experience for me,” he says. “I feel the shoe on the other foot, desperately worried about the animal you love and that is an integral member of your family.”
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