Laurelee Blanchard, who runs the eight-acre sanctuary in Haiku, said film crews were there on Oct. 13 and Nov. 16. “The show is a takeoff on the British series All Creatures Great and Small,” Blanchard said. “It follows a veterinarian based on Kauai who flies his plane (which he built) around the Hawaiian islands to treat farm animals.”
Blanchard said that National Geographic contacted the sanctuary and and asked if they could film an episode. She said part of the show features a pig they were caring for that had been blind for five years.
According to its website, the nonprofit animal rescue sanctuary houses goats, rabbits, donkeys, cats, peahens, pigs, ducks, deer and chickens.
As for Aloha Vet, that show–which follows Kauai veterinarian Dr. Scott Sims–has been in development since last fall.
“We’re so excited to bring Dr. Sims’ unique story to the Nat Geo Wild audience, the perfect home for this special docu-series,” said Mike Aho, senior vice president at Shine America (which also produces shows like American Idol, Big Brother and Masterchef), in a Sept. 14, 2014 Variety story. “Dr. Sims is beloved in Hawaii, where he flies from island to island, rescuing animals of all sizes and taking care of them regardless of whether their owners can pay his fee or not.”
Blanchard’s reference to the show All Creatures Great and Small, which dramatized life at a country veterinary clinic in 1949, isn’t a stretch–especially when you read Nat Geo’s own publicity materials on the show.
“Nat Geo WILD cameras follow Dr. Sims through his busy days as the main local veterinarian in Kauai,” states a Jan. 5, 2015 Nat Geo WILD press release, reprinted at Thefutoncritic.com. “His phone never stops ringing, his hours are long and he rarely gets a full night of sleep. With a heart of gold, Dr. Sims will help any animal that can walk, crawl, fly or swim.”
Aloha Vet begins airing on Nat Geo WILD on Saturday, Mar. 21.
Photo courtesy Leilani Farm Sanctuary