Dr. Brenda Grettenberger was one of the founding cast members of the famed cable television show, The Incredible Dr. Pol.
The senior staff veterinarian officer and medical officer at Dr. Pol’s animal clinic had been by the famed vet’s side for 28 years.
She gained prominence amongst mainstream TV fans for her genuine nature, her impressive skills as a vet, and her kind, competent manner.
As the show’s popularity grew, she started to amass a solid following of her own, and quickly became one of the show’s most popular characters.
But following her increasing absences from season 12 onwards, fans started wondering what had happened to their beloved Dr. Brenda.
Her name still showed in the show’s credits.
To add to her fans’ concerns, one of Dr. Pol’s kids took to Twitter to post a message about how important she had been to the business.
Everyone knows that’s a sure sign someone’s leaving a show, right?
Here’s what happened to Dr. Brenda on The Incredible Dr. Pol show—plus everything you ever wanted to know about her.
The Origin Story
Brenda Grettenberger was born in Eaton Rapids, Michigan, on February 23, 1967.
She grew up on a dairy farm, where she developed her love for large animals and her fascination with their care.
By the time she’d left high school, she already knew she wanted to be a vet.
She left the farm and enrolled in Michigan State’s reputed College of Veterinary Medicine program.
She graduated in 1992.
Not long after she graduated as a fully-fledged vet, the newly minted Dr. Grettenberger was struggling to find a job that wouldn’t require her to leave Michigan.
Dr. Jan Pol snapped her up to work at Pol Veterinary Services.
She built her career with the business over almost three decades, working alongside Dutch-born Pol and his wife, and eventually the Pol’s son.
In an early 2000s interview, Dr. Brenda described some of the obstacles to being a female vet in a large animal hospital—but she also appreciates that it was easy to overcome the obstacles once she got to know her patients’ owners.
For starters, many of the older farmers weren’t excited about having a female vet.
They had concerns about whether she had the strength or the experience to handle their livestock.
Fortunately, Dr. Brenda’s background on a dairy farm, her open and straightforward personality, and her work ethic shone through.
At the same time, she was also training her own oxen.
A respected member of the Midwest Ox Drovers’ Association, Dr. Brenda works with a single and a team of Lineback crosses.
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The Incredible Dr. Pol Show
Dr. Brenda never planned to be a celebrity.
She was a large animal vet, through and through, according to interviews after she made the mainstream media. But Dr. Pol’s clinic caught the attention of Nat Geo Wild.
The media organization signed Dutch-born Dr. Jan Pol and his Michigan practice up as a reality veterinary show in 2011—and it’s still going with its 18th season in 2021.
Pol, who hails from the Netherlands and studied veterinary medicine at Utrecht University, leads the cast as the cameras follow their every move on the job. Initially just working with large animals as a rural hospital, the practice has expanded to include small animals—like dogs and cats.
He runs the practice alongside his wife, Diane Pol, who is a retired teacher from Mayville, Michigan.
The couple celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2020.
Son, Charles Pol, Dr. Brenda, and Emily Thomas round out the cast of the Incredible Dr. Pol, as the clinic serves some of its 22,000 (and counting) clients.
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So, What Happened to Dr. Brenda?
In a nutshell: nothing!
Dr. Brenda was a constant presence on the first 11 seasons of the show, but she took a temporary step back to focus on other interests for a few seasons.
Since the show airs two seasons a year, it was easy for fans to jump to the conclusion she’d left the show permanently.
To add to the distress of thousands of Dr. Brenda’s fans, Dr. Pol’s son Charles posted to social media thanking Brenda for all her work at the clinic.
Many leaped to the conclusion that this was a farewell post—but it wasn’t.
Charles was genuinely just thanking a long-term colleague and integral part of the veterinary team.
Not long after the post, season 16 of The Incredible Dr. Pol aired on Nat Geo Wild—and there was Dr. Brenda, front and center.
It appeared that all her fans’ concerns were unfounded, as she resumed her role as a caring and astute vet, a loyal co-worker, and an all-around genuine, straight-talking person to have on the show.
Want to see Dr. Brenda in action? Here’s an interview she did where she talks about growing up on a dairy farm, cow figurines, and using steer as oxen.
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