Home #Hwoodtimes The series premiere of Heartland Docs, DVM, airs on Nat Geo WILD...

The series premiere of Heartland Docs, DVM, airs on Nat Geo WILD on Saturday, January 25 at 10/9c

By Valerie Milano

Century City, CA  (The Hollywood Times) 1/19/20 –

“In a picturesque rural part of Nebraska, Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder are lifesavers for the farmers who need these dynamic animal loving superheroes. They care for livestock and pets and rush to help during the toughest weather from blizzards to searing heat.”

– Valerie Milano

About the Series:

Erin Schroeder, Ben Schroeder and Janet Han Vissering of “Critter Fixers: Country Vets” and “Heartland Docs” speak during the National Geographic Panel segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 17, 2020 in Pasadena, California.
(Photo: Getty Images North America)

Heartland Docs, DVM – A new Six-Part Series Premieres January 25, 2020 (Glass Entertainment). In picturesque rural Nebraska, husband and wife veterinary team Drs. Ben and Erin Schroeder live and work at the center of America’s food chain, where the livelihoods of Midwestern farmers connect to families nationwide. This animal-loving couple, along with their two sons, Charlie and Chase, are always on the go as their veterinary practice cares for the region’s many animals in need. Follow the Schroeder’s as they rush to help animals in need — even in some of this region’s toughest weather conditions. From winter blizzards to spring tornadoes and blistering summer heat waves, Drs. Ben and Erin overcome the obstacles with skill and heart.

The Schroeder’s’ credo is to not just save the animals America depends on but to make each visit something to look forward to — for both the animals and their caretakers.

Meet the Vets:

Dr. Ben Schroeder

After graduation from Kansas State University, Ben and Erin worked with his father, Dr. John Schroeder, prior to assuming ownership of Cedar County Veterinary Services. The duo have two sons, Charlie & Chase, an ornery house cat, and two little dogs.

Ben’s hobbies include horseback riding, watching movies, and being a sports fan (especially for their boys). He is involved in the Veterinary Associations of Nebraska, Iowa, and South Dakota, and is a Certified Beef Quality Assurance Trainer. In his spare time, both he and Erin coach boys youth basketball and enjoy renovating historic buildings.

Dr. Erin Schroeder

Erin grew up in Westport, New York, a small town located on Lake Champlain. She grew up with dogs, cats, and horses, and always knew that she wanted to be a veterinarian. She graduated with a B.S. in Biochemistry from Syracuse University where she also played basketball for the Orange. Dr. Erin loves interior design and working on home improvement projects. She also enjoys cooking, coaching and relaxing with the boys and Ben.

The Review:

As I spoke to Erin and Ben at the National Geographic holiday party and I was touched by their hearts, their love of animals and love of being veterinarians in a midwestern rural American town. They care for all animals from the family dog or cat to cows, horses, and goats, oh my! Ben and Erin are known as the toughest vets in the Midwest. They were taught and mentored by Ben’s father, now suffering from cancer, sadly.

Erin and Ben met at school in Kansas. Ben’s father was a veterinarian in Coleridge, NE and he also loves restoring old buildings with his son and daughter-in-law who he sees just as “his daughter.” Erin loves to design things and when she was a child that’s what she was doing and felt that she was headed in the direction of Frank Lloyd Wright.

When they aren’t helping animals, the Schroeder’s devote themselves to restoration projects in their community. They started out by rescuing the historic Hartington Hotel, a three story brick building that sat empty and forgotten for over 23 years. They have big plans for it including a coffee shop, home décor store and a 17 bedroom facility that can host wedding receptions, reunions, and host tourists.

(L-R) Vernard L. Hodges, Terrence Ferguson, Erin Schroeder, Ben Schroeder and Janet Han Vissering of “Critter Fixers: Country Vets” and “Heartland Docs” speak during the National Geographic Panel segment of the 2020 Winter TCA Press Tour at The Langham Huntington, Pasadena on January 17, 2020 in Pasadena, California.
(Photo: Getty Images North America)

They’re on their way to being the next Chip and Joanna. but that’s not what this review is about. They are known as the extremely busy fixer-upper vets because they run clinics in Hartington and Vermillion South Dakota. Besides animals and fixing up forsaken buildings, they’re in the throes of raising two teenage boys. Oh My!!!

So, sit back and enjoy the interview I had with Erin and Ben, the superheroes of rural America, saving animals in need for the love of their families, everywhere.

The Interview:

Valerie:

You are known as the two toughest vets in the Midwest. Tell us about the Cedar and tell us more about your veterinary services, veterinary medicine, and what has changed over the years?

Ben:

I feel like the toughest vet in the Midwest is my dad. He was a strong, strong vet who had been in practice for over thirty years and is fighting cancer right now, so has always been in our prayers, but I feel like you know, we were just taking over what he has built and trying to do our best with it.

Valerie:

Ben, your last name is Schroeder but pronounced Shrader.

Ben:

Yeah, Grandpa Clayton told me it was “Schrader” when I left for college, so…

Valerie:

Do you think that there is anything different about your approach to this medicine than others?

Ben:

I think that’s Erin.

Erin:

I feel like we are progressive, even though we are in a rural area and it’s a farming community, but I do feel like we take the same approach to livestock as we take toward any animal. And so they are really our clients. I think a lot of people, you know, see us as kind of a means to an end and really that couldn’t be further from the truth for our clients. I mean… everything, every morning, you know, this is their livelihood. This actually matters to them and they really care about it. I think that will come through on our show. We are helping people stabilize their families regardless of whatever they are like.

Valerie:

Can you tell us about a time that may have changed your course. Perhaps you may have wanted to change careers or anything like that.

Ben:

Yes, I can. We were doing some embryo reproductive work and on a major scale so we were breeding horses and Erin got very sick from a horse and caught a disease from it.  We spent two weeks in the ICU with Erin, you know, getting better and we decided right then that maybe horses aren’t really our forte anymore so we switched paths to doing what our bread-and-butter is, which is livestock and companion animals like dogs and cats. And I still do some horse work here and there but we were basically running ourselves ragged to the point where we didn’t know if we were going to be able to keep doing our job as well as we could, so we had to shift at that point.

Erin:

We didn’t know that we were so busy that we didn’t know if we lost our horse or found a rope.

[Laughter]

Erin:

Yeah, that was a funny statement. But you know, we didn’t know if we were coming or going and that is why I got sick because I was working so much and the clinic got backed up with patients.

Ben:

So we packed up and moved to town. And now we don’t have it any easier by any means. I still really work hard cause we definitely don’t do the forestry productive work like we used to.

Valerie:

How were you approached by National Geographic or whoever it was that introduced you to the project?

Erin:

It was a very strange story. The short version is that we have restored some historic buildings. Ben is like “you want to rent a hundred year old hotel?” That sounds like a super great idea, honey. And there was a lovely article that came out of that kind of approach and at first, the idea was a whole different type of show about renovating veterinary clinics around the country. Then  after another call the producer came out and essentially fell in love with the veterinary aspect of our lives and said, let’s talk about who you are.

Valerie:

Yeah, you just said a lot and I appreciate the time. Is there anything else that you would like to talk about? You know, something that will surprise people about Heartland Docs, DVM.

Ben:

I just think when you watch our show, I hope you see how much the people in our area really care about their animals and their livestock. And, of course, Erin is the most compassionate person I’ve ever met and I’m just happy to be on the rise with her.

Valerie:

You make a beautiful couple. Oh my gosh you should both be models or something. What are some goals for the show, what would you like people to learn?

Ben:

I can’t wait for people to be educated by everything we are doing and you know, people could save an animal’s life by watching our show, that’s going to be really important for me. I can’t wait to hear, “I watch your show and I learned this, Doc. Because you did this and this step and that’s why I did what I did.” So that’s the most important thing to me.

Erin:

I hope people recognize that a lot of ranchers and farmers share their stories and compassion for animals, and you know, these people grew up here.  You know all those are special moments for me.

Valerie:

What was your most exciting job or difficult patient?

Erin:

Ben, like he is our most difficult patient. (Laughter) He always has a cold or he’s always got some sort of major health crisis.

Valerie:

[laughing]

So he is your most difficult…

Erin:

So he’s my most difficult patient and the issues with our ornery cat.  Both are like upset bulls…

Ben:

Nothing. I got nothing. (laughter)

Valerie:

What was the moment in your medical career that made you overjoyed in what you are doing? What was the most exciting job for you so far?

Ben:

You know when my father got to white coat both me and my wife for graduating from college. I still remember that to this day, how proud he was of both of us. Cuz, Erin is basically his daughter too and he mentored both of us while we were in vet school and that moment for both of us is something I’ll never forget.

Valerie:

You said he is battling cancer. I am sorry. Good luck, my mom beat it.

Ben:

Thank you.

Valerie:

It is beatable.

Ben:

Yeah.

Valerie:

Think positive but this just sounds like a good segue into this last part, but what was the grossest thing that ever happened in your job?

Erin:

Well, just yesterday, I got cat urine splashed in my mouth.

Valerie:

You got what?

Erin:

Cat urine splashed in my mouth.

Valerie:

That’s never happened before?

Erin:

Oh, I’m sure. I have a paperback short-term memory.

Ben:

I feel like a lot of times it’s not even just what we experience but it’s what the owner experiences. We’ve had many clients where if they see a lot of blood or they get woozy, you can see it in their eyes and all of a sudden, boom! So I’ve gotten good about picking up on those signs in advance and then I run over and try to catch them before they fall. That has been a lot of our experience.

Valerie:

So you are both coming out to TCA?

Ben and Erin:

Yeah

Valerie:

I see that you guys are like Joanna Gaines and Chip.

Ben:

That would be quite an honor.

Website: https://www.cedarcountyvet.com/

NatGeo Site: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/tv/