This sixteenth series starts with a Supervet Special; one of the most emotional and heart-rending stories ever filmed for the show: the story of Noel’s dog, Keira.
It’s been fifteen years since Noel began expanding the boundaries of veterinary medicine at his practice in Surrey, and his soulmate, the inimitable ‘ball of furry joy’, Border Terrier Keira has been by his side all the way.
“She’s as big a reason that Fitzpatrick Referrals exists as I am,” Noel says, “she is my muse. When I think about any animal that comes through these doors, I think how would I treat her...there’s hope, there always has to be hope because love, hope and faith is all we’ve got. She’s all of that to me.”
But on one dark night last September, Noel’s life was turned upside down when, by a terrible quirk of fate; Keira was hit by a van right outside the practice. Suddenly, the surgeon renowned for finding solutions for even the most challenging injuries must face the possibility that his Keira may not be fixable – and furthermore, steel himself for the most important surgery of his life. “Now her ultimate survival and function rests on my shoulders... I’m afraid. I’ve got to try and go into battle and do my job.”
The programme follows every intense, fraught and dramatic step of Keira’s battle for life, from just after the accident through each emotional stage of her treatment as a distraught Noel and his team jump into action and stabilise her life-threatening injuries. These include a ruptured abdominal lining and urinary bladder, a crushed sacrum and pelvis and a dislocated hip.
Noel’s colleagues repair extensive internal damage and then after two blood transfusions and days of intensive care, he faces an agonising wait to determine not only what intricate surgery may be possible for her skeleton, but whether Keira will be able to withstand the procedures which could allow her to walk again. Noel devises a custom implant to repair her broken bones and prepares to operate on his best friend.
There always has to be hope because love, hope and faith is all we’ve got. She’s all of that to me.