On May 4, APTN viewers will be able to follow veterinarian Dr. Savannah Howse-Smith as she goes about her day through the new series Dr. Savannah: Wild Rose Vet.
From managing local beehives to emergency c-sections on a pregnant cow there is no job nor animal is too big or too small for Dr. Howse-Smith to handle.
“I consider myself a kind of a catch-all kind of vet, I see the ones others turn away.”
Howse-Smith has been a veterinarian for nine years and doesn’t have too many free moments in her day. In between surgeries while pre-medication was taking effect, she spoke about production and life as a veterinarian on the prairies.
She said that filming a television show while working was a bit of a challenge.
“Being an actor is definitely not something that is in my wheelhouse,” said Howse-Smith.
Crews followed her as she went about her day. Viewers will be able to watch as she sees a variety of patients from a baby goat with a heart problem to an anxious hairless guinea pig.
Howse-Smith is a veterinarian at Rocky Rapids Veterinary Service in Drayton Valley and didn’t seek out the chance to be in front of cameras. A few years ago a production crew approached her old university looking for Metis and Indigenous alumni who had entered the veterinary sciences field and she accepted the opportunity.
Other special episodes focus on veterinary care in a remote area such as Cambridge Bay, Nvt., to volunteer her services for the town’s residents. For residents there, it is the one chance a year to get animal medical advice.
The desire to work with animals has always been with Howse-Smith.
“When she was five she told me she was going to be a vet, she was certain of it,” said Howse mother, Kathy Howse.
Growing up, the family always had dogs and cats in the house but there were other creatures that found their way in as well.
“Mice, hamsters, rabbits, a lizard, a snake, praying mantis, ants, other bugs or whatever she found. (She has) loved animals her whole life favourite books as a toddler was anything animals, her stuffies were animals. Dinosaurs were a passion too.”
To help her reach her goal of becoming a veterinarian, Howse-Smith joined 4-H.
“We lived in town and had to drive every night after work to feed and care for steers,” said Howse.
They also watched vet shows and documentaries or read books and visited places like the zoo and wildlife watching centres.
Howse lives in Rimbey and said that said it was surreal when she heard her daughter would be involved in a TV series.
“It’s going to be another amazing experience to have happen to her.”
“When we got more details of the show’s format our Metis heritage was going to be an important part of the show and Savannah’s volunteering which is an important part of who she is,” said Howse.
Howse-Smith hopes the show will encourage other Metis youth to enter the veterinary and animal sciences fields.
“Don’t give up just because someone says it’s difficult,” said Howse-Smith. “It is difficult at times but it’s not impossible.”
She said that even if students don’t become a veterinarian there are other paths and career options related to animals, animal sciences and medicine.
Dr Savannah: Wild Rose Vet airs on May 4 on all APTN channels.