On Village Vets Australia, Anthony Bennett and James Carroll bond with animals and share some major milestones!
Dr. James Carroll doesn’t hesitate to reach, almost elbow-deep, into the mouth of Zeus, a strapping 600-kilogram stallion who could send James off his mortal coil with one swift kick. Even with a metal mouthguard strapped on the horse, many would balk at the thought. But this morning James, clad in a green jumpsuit, is perfectly happy as an equine dentist, filing huge teeth with a large dental rasp. On another day, he could be a bovine midwife or a donkey’s farrier. It’s all part of life as a star of Village Vets Australia.
We’re in beautiful Kangaroo Valley in the Shoalhaven area of New South Wales’ south coast, where James and his best mate and business partner Dr Anthony Bennett have three veterinary practices.
Zeus is one of 40 cherished horses that need an annual dental check-up on a farm owned by horse whisperer Geoff Fearon and his wife Gail. James uses an “advance and retreat” method, waiting until Zeus is relaxed to insert the rasp, taking it out when he reacts. A two-man camera crew films the process as James reassures viewers that Zeus is comfortable and in no pain.
Away from the practice, more personal milestones feature in this second season. Anthony marries fiancée Sidney, and James and wife Ronnie welcome their second child. We caught up with the boys on location to find out how life is progressing.
How has filming been going?
Anthony: It’s been really good. The crew is the same as the first season, which has made it a lot easier. We know the guys well, we know their routine and they know ours – and they actually know a lot of the clients, so it’s been a bit like a reunion. It’s a lot easier for us because the clients know what we’re doing and understand the series isn’t designed to make them look silly.
James: It’s been a real pleasure, and the crew make a real effort to stay out of the way so that we can do our job as naturally as possible. The aim is that the show is a real representation of what it’s like to be a vet in the country.
Does the presence of a camera change the way you work?
A: We found that we were quite comfortable with the camera from the get-go (and this time around it’s even easier). We put that down to the fact that a lot of our job is communication. You can be the best vet in the world but if you can’t explain to the client what you are thinking and what you want to do, it doesn’t resonate.
J: I think it’s fairly unobtrusive. Obviously it’s an added time pressure on Anthony and me, so we’re fairly exhausted from it, but we knew what we were in for this time, so we were much better prepared.
What can viewers expect to see this time around?
A: We’ve had a massive variety of cases this year. We’ve had some really involved cases, doing things we’ve never done before and never thought we’d attempt – like thoracic open-chest surgery on a dog to remove a tumour.
J: We run the full gamut of emotions from extremely rewarding and happy cases, through to some of the sadder aspects of our job. There are really technically demanding parts and really fun parts.
THEIR WEIRDEST CASE
“One of the funniest phone calls I’ve had was after hours from a client who kept going on about the fact his cat had had a sex change. It was actually genuine.”
THEIR SCARIEST CASE
“I’ve been kicked by horses out of the blue. I was listening to a horse’s heart and he kicked me with his back leg. I didn’t even know it had happened, it was over that quickly.”
This is an excerpt from the July issue of the Foxtel Magazine. To subscribe, CLICK HERE.
Village Vets Australia Series 2 premieres Thursday July 30 at 8.30pm, only on The LifeStyle Channel.