Professor Noel Fitzpatrick is a veterinary surgeon who presents the television series The Supervet. He has pushed the boundaries of treatment available to animals and has developed ground breaking surgery including fitting the world’s first bionic leg on a dog. Noel was born in Ballyfin in Ireland where his father Sean was a farmer. As a very small boy Noel’s job was to count the sheep at night which he credits as the catalyst for his enduring love of animals. He completed his training in Ireland where he worked as a country vet looking after livestock. He moved to England in the 1990s and set up his referral practice in Surrey in 1997. Some of his famous clients include Meghan Markle’s dog Guy and Russell Brand’s cat Morrissey. He has also written two best-selling books based on his experiences of working with animals. DISC ONE: One by U2 DISC TWO: Love of My Life by Queen DISC THREE: Stairway to Heaven by Led Zeppelin DISC FOUR: Do Anything You Want To by Thin Lizzy DISC FIVE: Walking in My Shoes by Depeche Mode DISC SIX: Ruby Tuesday by The Rolling Stones DISC SEVEN: Uprising by Muse DISC EIGHT: Nothing Else Matters (Live) by Metallica And San Francisco Symphony BOOK CHOICE: Oscar Wilde: Essays and Letters, Plays and Poems, Stories LUXURY ITEM: A guitar CASTAWAY'S FAVOURITE: One by U2 Presenter: Lauren Laverne Producer: Paula McGinley
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Previously sounds music radio broadcasts, hello. I'm Lorna van and this is the desert island discs podcast. Every week I ask my guest to choose the eight tracks book and luxury they want to take with them if they were cast away to a desert island and for rights reasons. The music is shorter. The original broadcast out you enjoy listening My castaway this week is the veterinary surgeon, professor, no fitzpatrick, many children invent superhero aliases very few grow up to see that day dreams come true. This tv super, That is one who did ass a child. He spent stolen hours on the family farm in rural ireland, imagining himself as vat man accrue
saving hero who used by onyx to rebuild sick and injured animals. Forty years later, his own to place in the guinness book of world records for his groundbreaking work with animals, including fitting the world's first by owning leg on a dog success, hasn't come easy and his revolutionary practices have their critics. His funds, however, can't get enough. His work has been chronicled in fifteen series. Unkempt of channel force, prime time hit the super that sport to successful books, a stadium, two, a m clients, including megan markov, dog guy and Russell bruns cap morrissey. For him, however, the status of the animals owner is irrelevant. He says it's a vocation. I've never done a day's work in my life. I've just got up and done what I love to do. It's about making the world a better place, one dog at a time, professor, nor fitzpatrick, welcome to desert island.
risks? Thank you and the team for having me on what were delighted to have you know now you might not describe what you do is work, but you do freely admit to be. A worker who lake and I know that you put in some punishing hours and you often get by on just a couple of hours sleep. Where does your extraordinary dr come from? I dont advocate worker holly's them as a way of life knots in that that's a good idea, but I just never think really beyond next patient on the next family that I'm seeing distilled sleep in your office during the week, as do I too kurds excalibur, ricochet. I don't care if a happy little family. No, I know him very passionate about the concept of one
medicine and that encourages collaboration between the medical and veterinary professions for the benefit of both humans and animals. What tree to this idea in the first place, it's better as a model, in my opinion, to study naturally occurring disease and dogs and cats in humans. At the same time as you will have to do with IRAN of earth, and as in my opinion, you should do with cancer rather than injecting it into an animal and then studying the effects. And secondly, if you develop intellectual property as a result of why don't you share it with the animals? I dont native, my intellectual property for dilemma, reputation, prostheses, the human field and we still don't have a man and a dog walking down a beach hand, imports with the same technology that would be a beach of one medicine and ass. The beach I'd like to wash up on This brings us to your fast track, then no ants, I think I might have an idea of wife chosen it. It's the best
ever written on planet earth collars by the great stirred led man, the cigar that ever existed on planet earth. Of course, who happens to be irish? he's bottle ad in the early years when I was studying in those them in those years they had the album the the album I had on vinyl and I broke the record blair and the needle, so it was basically just playing for night after night. The lyrics of it are the thing cause bonuses and any very specific about this. He says we're not the same. We get to Harry each other. In this era of covert. We have no choice but to help women no, it's not an obligation to privilege because love will indeed leave you. If you don't care for it and that's not. One is about
you too, and one professional fits drake, as well as your scientific expertise. You do have other talents. I knew when you and your twenties he went to dramas school. Why is it important to you to have that artistic outlet, einstein one of the greatest scientists of all time said you cannot
feel the meaning of life by train rationalizing in the mind. You can only feel it and I went to drama school because I studied so hard for many years and I had realized at science was just a blink, just our malaysia that moment in time, but transcended all of that. If this gig, then after dramas- who was in the police drama the bill. What part did you I was? asked as a shady dog dealer, the veil, seven people up It got me racing dogs, then I went for an interview at heart beat which you will well remember, calls april on Sunday night I was a shady poisoner of crows isaac excite take two green grass, not a crow PA man. Might my early acting career really was a good for the veterinary community and then lastly, the final nail in the coffin? I was up for
a body cassandra which little known actor call Collins pharaoh actually got. I dont know if you ve heard of him, but had here, in passing. Look at, if changes look at our life changes, but I had great fun and I really really enjoyed understanding how to translate that essence and that's what trauma school taught me time: phoenix disk in this one takes you back to iraq, cancer, slain, coastal and island and above well, you know had a huge effect on you. What are your memories of that day? I stood there. Mud covered as Susanna have some ngos belted. I when I was in love, which is on a half ads, then chris, you came on and then a skinny block in a white tracks who would read stripes down it with a frown on came out with a puff of smoke.
to the ethereal opening of one vision and that blew my mind because Freddy mercury, was able to translate emotion like nobody else, I've ever seen just by existing and he rode the greatest love song well in my life anyway, and is called love of my life and for me. It's all about unconditional love, cause freddy, didn't think about really. Hunting is right this sexuality, because remember he had a girl, and a boy in, and I never think the dogs and cats judge you. They don't care. sexuality. You are what color you our creed. You are what religion you are, what race you are and then mama didn't one thousand nine hundred and eighty six, I thought wow, that's it and that's what I'm going to do with my life
you You mine, don't say Yeah queen and love of my life, so no fitzpatrick you born in bali, fin candy leash one of six children you father showed was a farmer, and I think he is where you might have inherited your work ethic from a hundred percent. Daddy, never considered. Farming work is like everything else. The diet
urged from that was was anathema to him. I remember when I was I think I was like ten and I asked him for a guitar. And he gave me a saw They saw the horns of a bullock because that's how he rolled back then, and when I was eight in, I was wandering out in the fields counting sheep. Making sure it wasn't one down in a dry and trying to have a lamb- and he would do the morning shift- and that's really how I fell in love with animals- are used just talk to them. I say in the field and talk to them and find scared. A night at that age. There was nobody around neuron is a middle of nowhere. Well was a moment the changed my life when I was scared, but now human I was doing the night shift. And I went to counter the sheep, and there was one missing turned out. She was down the drain, which is a trough of water around them.
three, the field and she was trying to push out alarm and I got like clamber down the cited the drain and pull that lama and who is dead Daddy always said, put your hand in and try to look for another, so I did it was a lifeline in there and I thought I was under the water surface was freezing called, got it up beside of the bank and pump life back into his chest and then, as I was like aux touche back out of the drain and as I was walking back up the field, I slipped on the ice in the lamb just flung out in front of me and and and died, and I just lay there looking up at Heaven and all the stars in heaven and I felt worthless, meaningless and useless, and I wished with all my might that I could be strong enough though I could be brave. Enough he was so young nolan. Obviously you really wanted your dad's approval, then, with the two of you close a great man in many ways, but he was never
want to say you did all right, there are two concentrate on anything material. I remember he only ever actually give me one thing cereal in my whole life. I remember it forever. He it was my birthday and he walked him with a box with a time makes watch in it, and he just give it to me- and he said, tissues your time wisely, and I was the thing about him. You know he would say the most profound things Having said that, he was a man of few words and it wasn't. On till I left home went to made my home in great britain and before he died
tat. I really asked him some big questions and we ponder the little bit. I feel sad though, because we never really had the chat. You know when never really had. There was this all about that each her anyway, but it sounds like he knew you loved him I think yeah. Meanwhile, of course your mom waiter was bringing up sixty six kids on a farm. What kind of stuff vices did she have to make a can be a tough life, she never had something She organised like a social event or something like that that she ever actually thought she was gonna, go to he would always be late or don't always be account calving or will be something else going on. So I think her life was filled with little disappointments, which she dealt with so great fully she's ninety two now and an immensely grateful to my mommy, because
one saturday night, one of study and really hard, and she would felt like santa born those bloody books. If you don't go to bed, she helped me to look up a big word in a dictionary which I have today. What was the big word on the matter? my god and she believed in me. You know she she would never say you're, not capable of something or It's not your station in life. She I would make to dream. My mammy did know when it's time for your next desk, which I think relates to your childhood. What are we gonna hear those nineteen? Seventy one I had no radio, but I found what on a scrap heap. I made an aerial out of a car hangers stuck in the in the radio notes on you, area and is sound, came from a pirate radio station call radio, luxembourg and it was led zepplin stairway to Heaven. It was jimmy page
Robert plant and john Paul Johns people. I'd never heard of these were like angels that had transcended whitman, lift louis words from Heaven and hell We'll does stairway to it. In all of its glorious eight minutes. I would, just lie on my back and dream that that stairway to Heaven existed in the one day? I would walk on it and it would bring me to play of love, sure she's. This way when she saw as are all we see stay,
way to Heaven led zepplin, professional fitzpatrick, you attend a catholic boarding school. They had an obligation to take a sentiment of local boys as day pupils, and you were one and I know we had a deal time that you were out of you adapt to me what we dealing with. I guess the begin and I just want to emphasise that mammy. This isn't your fault, and this wasn't your doing and you did your arrest and daddy the same but In the end, I didn't care about the punches in the cakes and the appalling open. My underpants and ever had any underpants elastic left in care by any of the physical violence have been thrown in korea may covered and bruises in my bike being broken up while I cared about was the only thing that matters to me and they found out what that was, and that was my my copy book
they poured milk over it. The destroyed the only thing that matters to me, and that was the creation of my thoughts, I guess and physical form. I realized at that moment that sir, I ought not to get attach to anything physical and the only thing that I could impart with something that could be out, and if I do anything in my life, maybe I can make people realize that in that moment of beauty, that you share with an animal that doesn't judge you, you don't need a copy book and it doesn't matter who hitch in the face. Because I love transcends all of that sooner through what must have been a hugely traumatic time google will make up stories about this character. Vat man, a superhero that you'd cream
in your imagination and he could save every unwanted injured animal. Burma could do anything. He could build a shell of a tortoise with a wheelbarrow and put rocket launchers onto the handles, so the tortoise could fly hadn't he would marry all the. most were thrown away and all the things that were thrown away and sure everybody that we would be so much better if we, if we didn't throw everything away and sometimes the things we throw away, most valuable, but we don't realize that till it's gone you'll sad pirate sheep don t give you some comfits what was like he was an animal on the farm that was there for functional reason. To me he was my best friend I'd say: will I have no underpants elastic pirate
You gonna tell that to you, tell him or today, I'm afraid pirate. I can't sleep tonight pirate and I on him so so much now. Let's take it It's amazing, your fourth disk today. What are we gonna here and why you taken it with you to the island? The reason chosen this song by thin lizzie, it has lyrics in it that are real? the really important to me and have been really important, all my life, because I get a lot of criticism from other vets What I do maybe we'll talk about that, but there's a line in the song says there are people that that will investigate You got a singular, intimidate and complicated you, but don't let them break you. Could she can do anything you
thin lizzie and do anything you won t know Fitzpatrick, you graduated from veterinary school in ninety ninety and you got a job as a country that dealing with farm animals. What did you learn from doing that kind of work? This ability to be in the moment with the cow, the sheep, the horse, the pig, the dog, the cat, whatever the animal may be and interpret the clinic
signs without the need for an mri scanner, see tee scan all that stuff that that supervision fella puts television vision that mean my goodness. Can you not just take out a thermometer and due the decent thing? annual scylla and, of course, the gift of improvisation. I know that one of your first grateful patience was it. She spoke with a broken fema. What did you do to help? Ah, my goodness one of the greatest versus of my life's its was the dog of a farmer called Larry. larry use to wash his clothes in the rand barrel at the end of his cottage, and there was no running water. There was electricity Larry thought. I could do anything because I d horned all his books and as I was leaving, he said I have a look at the old dog so did Was the farm dog limping around the yard, with a broken femur and I'm in the middle of nowhere. I popped the dog up on his kitchen table and I made it
split out of a bit of wire and some felt then when I saw the dog walkin around the yard,. Larry said the most profound thing to me: standing there watching the impossible happened when the dog with the broken fema, we should call it kicked his walk across the yard. Absolutely fine. After my rudimentary splintered he'll dead, and he goes there. You go on now sure rating is impossible until it happens and that the truth I think we'd better, have some music, no number five. What have you got? My next truck is: from one of the most underrated british bands of all time, their depend mode and the song is called for talking to my shoes and the reason that it so important to me is that when I was trying to pitch this prevent tv show nobody wanted it. I done the bionic that for the bbc it was not, commissioner, can I couldn't get a show and I wrote
she'll in american national geographic and they decided they give me a shop ass in your such a big depend mode found that you decided that you would do the pitch from the same hotel room in los angeles. Where depend modes dave the thankfully so lived an accidental drug overdose. Always the thinking minded You want to do that. I figured if they ve got. I can survive that hotel room
could surely survived on the first page for the supervisor tv showing that same sound, bozeman, scots depend mode. Looking me, she's professional, if it's patrick, you started working in england in the early nineties, setting up your first referral practice in surrey in ninety ninety seven and one of your early successes was an operation to implant, bionic, limb and adult cold. Stone What did the surgery involve the day with stuff?
I was in what can only be described as a hut in the woods, an old army barracks in the middle of a woods and everybody said well, you should just chop the leg off. Well, thou wasn't ideal for storm, for various reasons, so we develop this implant based on it. he d scan, we designed it put it in the limb. The bond grew in the skin. Gruel and storm ran around the field. I did not moment. Of course, everything becomes possible to echo the words of Larry How did it feel to watch him recover nervous because it's the first time, but it's just wonderful when you can restore fully functional, called of life in an ethically robust environment and, most importantly, Maybe you give the family the choice he said you know
As you know me any must be nervous before the surgery. Do you ten to feel like that before you going to do in operation? not so much anymore because other I wouldn't be able to do it. I recently Opera and my own dog kara after her accident and I was probably more nervous, then then I've been for twenty years, But these are so much nerves eyes. Knowing that I could fail and accepting that part of the journey and as long as the families on that journey with you and you discuss the ethics with them, then I dont think nerves really help. and once you blow the doors of the theatre open, usually with your foot and you walk in. Somehow, any is she may have had evaporate
its and somehow it's a magical thing you pick up, the scalp oblige you become. The person is going to save the world know when it's time for your next disk. What are we gonna hear? Well,. I chosen ruby choose their because Keith richards is immortal hadn't, mick, Jagger way be the most on. this front. Man that you could ever meet saw we should all try and emulate him, but most importantly, I pick ruby choose their because there's a line in their about losing your dreams, and you lose everything. That's really important to me because You lose your change. Illusion life
no tuesday, the rolling stones, no fitzpatrick? Certainly, don't shy away from the tragedies that you deal with his part of your job on a day to day basis a case in point Is the story of a young tortoise, called hermes? Now three of his legs had been eaten by IRAN. When he was in hibernation. Any reader came tuna, very sorry state, but in full your decision to operate more was going through. head was: is it ethical too? I and save this animal life, even if it is possible just because something is possible, doesn't mean, is the right thing to do anyway, having taken all of that advice and gone through
dozens of ours of planning we set out to take off the infected portions of the limbs and subsequently we did implant three bionic limbs, as we just alluded to storm, which were actually working very well. When, unfortunately, hermes, the tortoise had a probable gastro enteritis problem and died, but that was well after what I had done. That was Tiemann slate yes and we were very transparent about that on the television show. But number of veterinarians complained to my governing body. The royal college event resurgence that I was guilty of malpractice I have no acrimony against him they're trying to do the right thing or try to look after the welfare of the animals. They see it, but in this case they felt that I didn't look after the ethical welfare of hermes and often they wouldn't have done it. They would not have offered this option to her.
mace what was the emotional toll of that for ye review moral and ethical values, which you quite clearly care so passionately about being questioned? I was suicidal yeah. That's the nuts and bolts of it. Look at you three that time must have been incredibly difficult. My girlfriends been great. My dog here has been great ricochet. My cat came into. A car came into my life at that time and since then excalibur another cat ricochet reached down these big black paw pulled me out my misery and told me daddy. It's ok after fourteen
snow. The royal college of veterinary surgeons concluded that youth in asia should have been recommended for hermes, but you were cleared if serious malpractice. What helped you get back on track once that experience was behind you gone country. Another patient every day. And as the wonderful people who around me from a legal point of view, kept saying to me just gone, save the next one. No, it's too. The next piece of music. What we can hear and why. Uprising has Eriksson and as you know, by now, I'm really attracted to lyrics and they say that they ll try and push drugs and keep us all dumb down and ass Matthew bellamy says in his son, and I would encourage all it's in human and animal to look beyond profit. I look towards the pace.
Is this round? Is red saved means an uprising? Profession Fitzpatrick last year you had an awful accident. You fell down the stairs. Obviously. go to live in the middle of the night. You broke your neck now, I'm pleased to say you fully recovered today, but I know that you spent weeks and enact brace and were virtually immobile, that must have been a cue to take stock of your life. Yes, yes,
id sitting there looking up at the ceiling, you stop taken for granted the things that really matter, your friends and the love in your life and and that's what I did for me As we said at the beginning of the programme, no your self confessed work. Alek. Have you made personal sacrifices to get where you ought to day? You mention friends and the love in your life how'd. You bob that when you work in the hours that you have often worked or habitually worked, all your life nightmare lauren, my goodness year from the point of view of my personal life, going forward on fifty three. So if we want to have. We need to think about that. If I want to have some some work life balance, I need to think about that. These are big questions and d on those things yeah yeah, I think so
God bless my girlfriend and I will see what happens, but I just hope it all worked out in the end. If I keep doing the right thing, that's it vowed to cast you away now. Nobody wants, sets a never give my mind space of time to heal and be it rest, do you think you might? to do that on the island. Definitely definitely, I am so excited about going to the eyelids. I get to spend some time thinking And some time to reflect in some time too, be at one with the universe with it. This stress the hundred emails that have come in well, I've been talking to you and the next ten patients that need my help and he do you think Most then
was in your life with people. Oh gosh taught tat any of my friends laurent, but it's gonna be the animals, one more disk before you go, then professional fitzpatrick. What are we gonna hear? I wanted to combine symphony and heavy metal and it's a beautiful song, because when James hatfield wrought it- and in fact interestingly here is the sole or rather comment on this only track and he wrote about a girlfriend when he was away on the road and annette goes like life is ours. We live our way. All these words, I dont, you say nothing else, matters he was looking for trust and he found in heart and soul for me. What it means is that if medicine opened up its mind to a different view, nothing else matters if you can find trust and not follow the herd and do the right thing. Nothing else matters
good for nothing. Matters metallica. But the san francisco symphony orchestra conducted by edwin atwater, no fitzpatrick, it's time for me to cast you away. I can give you I believe the complete works if shakespeare and you can take another book of your choosing. What will you go? Full, it's going to be the me and letters of oscar wilde and the most beautiful thing he ever raw was the last four lines of a point to his wife. And he said when wind and when.
Hard all the loveless land, it will whisper of a garden that only you will understand. I want that with me for eternity. You can also have a luxury item. What I am going to ring a guitar now, because I have I saw many times to learn, guitar and I think all five private guitar teachers have either left the country are certainly left. My pride at ten p m, when the lesson was supposed to be at nine, so god bless them all on the island, I'm gonna practice guitar. finally, which of these eight tracks, would you rush to save if he could, only rob one in rescue it from the waves, a no brainer one by you to it, since the one medicine we need to embrace for all, most in humans to be at one and the one race, the one creed one color, the one religion whatever it is. Oneness where it's a professional fitzpatrick. Thank you,
So much for sharing your does island discs with us. My entire pleasure, thank you. I hope you join my conversation with no. We have cast many animal lovers away, including the vat bruce Fogel writer, James Harriet, races strainer, jenny, pitman and clare Horton, for which she figs equity of, but, as he talks in cattle, you could find their opposites in a desert island discs per. Grandma I've, I'm three BBC sends next time my guest be the olympic gold medalist deemed jessica and his hill. I do hope, you'll join us. Helen, I pandora sykes, and just before you go
to tell you about a new podcast pieces of britain. My attempt to peace, the knife britain stairs and the forces that huge van absolutely a fan of not just the performer but the person. I think that a lot of people were reading for britain to fail and there's a sort of assumption of you know. This is what she wanted. This is when you're gonna get in there. Pass areas for bbc radio for I've spoken to cultural. Think. His lawyer, psychology and key players in the entertainment industry to get that perspective of britain's remarkable story and enduring legacy or used as an example of somebody who really got what was required to do this kind of work, where also using charming to help us get behind the headlines and the conflicting accounts to imagine the women underneath join me for peace is that britain subscribed now on BBC sands,
Transcript generated on 2022-06-05.