I loved watching these vets overcome seemingly impossible circumstances
and plying their magical skills to help all but one of these very sick animals.
CHAPA, a moon bear named so because they sport a white crescent shape
on the front of their bodies, had been found as a cub -- motherless and alone.
Frank found her, and for all intents and purposes, he proved to be a surrogate
mother. He thoroughly enjoy the experience, and Chapa grew to adulthood under his
loving care. But now there was a problem. He noticed that she seemed unwell, and so
contacted a wildlife vet.
The vet discovered a fluid buildup in her head and that this was making
life painful and miserable for her. So, the day came when the vet and his assistants
prepped Chapa for surgery. They were able to drain the fluid and, to Frank's great
relief, Chapa would now be good as new and no longer suffer from her malady. And yes, of
course, we viewers were also happy at this heartwarming outcome for Chapa and
FUJI, a dolphin who had lost her "fluke"--the fan-like appendage at the
end of her tail--was now having difficulty maneuvering in the water with the other
dolphins. She also could not rise up high into the air, which demonstrated the fluke's
As I didn't tape this, I am only relying on my memory and have already
forgotten the name of the wonderful oriental doctor who was bound and determined to
help Fuji. His first attempt with a fluke prosthesis failed, but his second did
the job. Everyone held their breath when the second fluke prosthesis was attached to
Fuji's tail. At first, Fugi must have wondered what that "thing" was at the end
of her tail. Well, she figured it out, and soon it helped to propel her through the
water when she joined the other dolphins in a swim. What a joy to see her flipping
that artificial fluke.
The next test was a smashing success as well. Fugi was now able again
to jump high as she had once done so many times before her accident. It was a
beautiful sight to see for the doctor, his helpers, and all of us who were viewing this on
NUNIO, an elephant in Poland, had a broken-off tusk that had become
infected. To address this problem would challenge the vet who came to help him.
Cleaning out the surface infection was not enough and it ran deep. The vet cut away
as much of the infected tusk as he could, but he knew that the remaining piece had
to be extracted as well in order to stop the infection.
It required him to return to his clinic to hopefully fashion some new
instruments that would help him to remove the embedded tusk. The saws and drills that he
had tried to use proved inadequate. But sadly the new tools didn't do much either
until he decided to extract the tusk with I guess a winch and a pulley. It really
was like pulling a tooth except this "tooth" was over a foot long and was buried deep into
Nunio's body. But it worked! Out came over a foot-long piece of infected tusk.
Everyone breathed a sign of relief. Nunio now would be cured and his infection would
be gone. No more pain for Nunio!
MARTHA, a crocodile, was observed by her "friend" who spent a lot of time
watching crocodiles. He had been given a baby crocodile as a youth and ever since
then- these reptiles intrigued him. He would often come down to a Florida river and
watch them in fascination. One day he saw one of them whom he would call Martha seemingly listless and basically floating on the top of the river.
He knew something was wrong, and he also noticed that she had a large bulge in her mid section. A Wildlife vet was called. They got her out of the
river with the customary struggle, even though it was evident that she was ill.
They managed to tape her mouth shut and bind her with rope. They then
drove her to the hospital. Here she was anesthetized and, upon opening her up, the vet
saw that she was impacted with a great amount of fecal material -- some of which he
scooped out. Sadly the doctor determined that nothing could be done for Martha. I
didn't understand exactly why this was, but she was euthanized, Her "friend" had
hoped for a better resolution, but at least, thankfully, she would no longer
The Galapagos Tortoise. These reptiles have the capacity to live a very,
very long time, and one of them became listless and was not eating. The vet had to
do exploratory surgery, which, of course, was challenging because of the shell that covered most of her body.
After anesthetizing her, they tilted her body so that the doctor could cut
into the visible skin to scope her organs. Naturally, it was a difficult and
dangerous maneuver, but he did a great job and we too could see her liver. Whether that was
the problem, I am not sure, but whatever it was, the doctor was able to diagnose it and
address it. All involved would later on see a now-well tortoise happily munching on a red
pepper and some greens. Another job well done by a vet with a special talent to help
this tortoise live for possibly many more healthy and happy years.
I wish that Pope Francis would have seen this program. I believe he would
have thoroughly enjoyed it as the rest of us did. Certainly St. Francis would
have enjoyed it too, and who's to say that he wasn't watching it also from his heavenly