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'Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet' Comes to Animal Rescue



Premiering Saturday, April 12, the new Nat Geo Wild reality series features the veterinarian, as she makes house calls across thousands of square miles in one of the most rugged environments on Earth.



Willow Oakley in "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet"
Willow Oakley Dr. Oakley, Yukon VetMarch 12, 2014

Michelle Oakley in "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet"
Michelle Oakley in "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet"
Michelle Oakley in "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet"
Michelle Oakley in "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet"
WASHINGTON, DC — In the frozen Yukon Territory in Northern Canada, you've got to be hearty and tough. You've got to expect solitude across frigid, remote landscapes with freezing temperatures, but even in the desolate wilderness you need a vet to help your ailing wiener dog.

Enter "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet." A new series premiering April 12, at 9 pm ET/PT on Nat Geo Wild following the network's #1 series "Dr. Pol," that follows the experienced Dr. Michelle Oakley, veterinarian, as she makes house calls across thousands of square miles in the Yukon helping many species of animals, including an angry muskox, a caribou with a tumor, a defensive mama lynx, and a grey owl with an amputated wing. Accompanied by her teenage daughters and armed with humor as sharp as a scalpel, Dr. Oakley deftly juggles being a full-time veterinarian, wife and mom while taking us into the isolated regions of the Yukon. "Dr. Oakley, Yukon Vet" premieres globally in July.



She operates her small veterinarian clinic out of her home in Haines Junction with her husband, Shane, and their three daughters, Sierra, Willow and Maya. But that's just her day job! She also runs a satellite clinic in Haines, Alaska with the American Bald Eagle Foundation and is an on-call vet for the Yukon Wildlife Preserve and the area's domestic animal clinic.

On a "typical" day, the amazing vet could drive 300 miles through the snow for a patient. Some of her clients live "off the grid" and sometimes without commercial power, so teaching pet owners how to be self-reliant is important. Throughout the season, we'll watch Dr. Oakley pull out over 300 porcupine quills from a sled dog, wrangle wild horses from a helicopter, check to see if a cow (who hasn't been producing milk) is pregnant, examine eaglets with injured legs, and help a yak with eye problems. We'll also spend off-duty time with her and her family, for birthday fishing celebrations and a Yukon rite of passage: the caribou hunt.

Premiere episodes include:

"Fly Like an Eagle"
Premieres Saturday, April 12, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

We're hitting the road with Dr. Oakley as she makes her way around the Yukon for some necessary house calls. Working as a vet can be tough, but working as a vet in the Yukon can be outright brutal. We venture to a sled dog operation where Michelle performs routine vaccinations and exams 26 huskies. Then we meet an owner who hopes her milk cow is pregnant so she can begin to produce milk for the fall. A near fatal emergency call brings Dr. Oakley to her home clinic where she rapidly works on a dog with a face full of porcupine quills. Later, at her satellite clinic in Alaska, Dr. Oakley's improvising skills are put to the test as she turns foam piping into a wing splint for an owl named Aspen. Dr. Oakley finally gets a moment's rest and enjoys a birthday fishing trip with her family.

"One Angry Muskox"
Premieres Saturday, April 19, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

Dr. Oakley stops at a local farm to run some tests on horses that may be at risk for a highly contagious disease, transmitted through the bite of horse flies. Then she pays a visit to the angriest muskox in the Yukon for a routine check-up, but he doesn't plan on surrendering without a fight. Later Dr. Oakley helps a devoted dog owner figure out the best options for his sick yet beloved family lab suffering from a chronic cough caused by a blocked windpipe. Back at home, husband Shane struggles to keep the girls occupied and the teenage craziness to a minimum. But finally, after an exhausting week, Dr. Oakley and the whole family head off for oldest daughter Sierra's first caribou hunt, a Yukon rite of passage.

"Caribou Down"
Premieres Saturday, April 26, at 9 p.m. ET/PT

It's mating season in the Yukon which means Dr. Oakley is busier than ever. She gets her hands a little dirty first to diagnose Priscilla, a cow who can't seem to get pregnant. Then, she gets a call from the Yukon Wildlife Preserve to help with a tricky case of a young caribou bull with growths on his nose. The clock is ticking. This small infection could spread to the rest of the herd if it's not treated soon. Testosterone is running high and the males of the herd begin to battle each other. The good doctor diffuses one fight before it gets dangerous and now it's off to the next appointment, but this one is different. Mating season isn't in the cards for Dr. Oakley's dog, Daisy Mae Lover-Pants, and the time has come for her to get spayed. Dr. Oakley couldn't bear to operate on her own dog so she anxiously takes a backseat as another vet works on her beloved pet.

More About Dr. Michelle Oakley

An Indiana native, Michelle Oakley earned her undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Michigan. While studying there, she took her first trip to the Yukon as a field assistant on an arctic ground squirrel ecology study. During that trip, she met and fell in love with local firefighter Shane Oakley, who kept referring to her as "squirrel girl." After marrying Shane, Michelle graduated from Atlantic Veterinary College in 2000 with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and shortly after that interned at the Calgary Zoo. She often travels back to the Calgary Zoo as part of her job.

She runs a clinic out of her home in Haines Junction. Outside of her home clinic, she also runs clinical sessions in Haines, Alaska, and Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. She works with the Yukon Wildlife Preserve as an on-call vet, does clinical sessions with the American Bald Eagle Foundation and works as an on-call vet at the domestic animal clinic All Paws in Whitehorse. Michelle has run specialized research programs for First Nation organizations and the Canadian government.

"Dr. Oakley: Yukon Vet" is produced by Lucky Dog Films for Nat Geo Wild. For Lucky Dog Films, executive producers are Kip Prestholdt and Rich Confalone. For Nat Geo Wild, executive producer is Tracy Rudolph Jackson, and executive vice president and general manager is Geoff Daniels.