New show on Nat Geo Wild featuring two vet friends turned partners
Two Tuskegee University veterinary medicine alumni and owners of a middle-Georgia veterinary practice will be featured on a new National Geographic Wild television show this fall. “The Critter Fixers” will feature veterinarian stars Drs. Terrence Ferguson ’98 and Vernard Hodges ’97, and capture the day-to-day operations at their two Georgia locations in Bonaire and Byron.
The two friends-turned-business-partners first learned of the opportunity in March 2018. The international cable television network contacted Hodges and expressed its interest in developing a show that highlighted their practice and care of animals. On the show, viewers can expect to see the doctors in their natural environment caring for their Critter Fixer patients, which include dogs, cats, farm animals, camels and even kangaroos.
Ferguson, a Talboton, Georgia, native, said when he first heard of the opportunity, he didn’t believe it – since he considers himself and Hodges to be just two country guys from Georgia. He called the opportunity “unbelievable.”
“I didn’t think the show was a real opportunity in the beginning. I thought it was a prank,” Ferguson said. “But then I began to wonder about it – and I knew thinking ahead, it would be an awesome experience to be on a national platform to showcase our story.”
The pair’s story began nearly 30 years ago when they met as undergrads at Fort Valley State University. Ferguson graduated with a degree in veterinary science, and Hodges earned a degree in fisheries biology. The duo then continued their HBCU experience by enrolling in the doctoral program at Tuskegee’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Hodges finished in 1997 and Ferguson graduated the following year in 1998.
“I’m thankful for both of my HBCU experiences, but it was at Tuskegee where I learned how to think and become resourceful,” Ferguson explained. “In the veterinary medicine profession, there are a lot of times where you’re not able to do everything you want to do, so it’s important that you use your senses in order to come to a conclusion to be able to work with your clients.”
Hodges, a Fort Valley, Georgia, native, also agreed that his HBCU experience has been instrumental to his success.
“Being a veterinarian was always my childhood dream. Growing up, I knew I wanted to treat pets,” Hodges recalled. “I was always told that I could be anything I wanted to be, but reality set in when there weren’t many vets that looked like me.”
“As I got older, I knew what field I wanted to be in, and I was fortunate enough to be accepted into Tuskegee University — the launching pad for my now 20-year career,” he continued.
Hodges said attending Tuskegee offered him a certain closeness and togetherness that can’t be compared.
“It’s at Tuskegee where you’re pushed toward success and motivated to get to the next level in hopes that you can one day pay it forward to future veterinarians,” he emphasized.
Ferguson and Hodges said they are thankful to have numerous student veterinary technicians come under their wing, as they want to encourage all of their students to go after a career in veterinary science.
“The upcoming show will take on the task of increasing diversity in the veterinary industry. In addition, we want to promote minority children learning about the veterinary field. Many people don’t realize that less than 2% of veterinarians are African-American,” Hodges noted.
Hodges and Ferguson have already recorded six episodes of “Critter Fixers,” which is set to air this fall on Nat Geo Wild. A dated for the show’s premiere has not been scheduled at this time.
To follow their Critter Fixer journey, visit https://critterfixerveterinaryhospital.com.