Noel Fitzpatrick and his dog Kiera (Image: Trevor Leighton/Channel 4)
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Noel Fitzpatrick has developed bionic legs for dogs, brought animals back to life and developed over 40 brand new procedures to help pets live their best lives.
An insight into his life-saving role has been documented through 15 series of the TV show Supervet – but there was one moment in his 20-year career that shook his nerves more than he ever thought possible.
The orthopaedic and neuro surgeon has operated on Meghan Markle ’s dog and Russell Brand’s cat, however it was the day he had to operate on his own canine companion that terrified him the most.
The Channel 4 star appeared on this week's episode of BBC’s Desert Island Discs, and revealed he no longer gets nervous when heading into the operating theatre, “because otherwise I wouldn't be able to do it. I recently had to operate on my own dog, Keira, and I was probably more nervous than I've been for 20 years".
Noel's dog, border terrier Kiera
On the Fitzpatrick Referrals site, Noel describes the best part of his job, saying: “There’s a wonderful joy in sending home an animal that is scooped up off a roadside with little hope and returning them to full function and a smiling family.”
But little did he know he’d have to do just that for his own pet during the pandemic.
The 13-year-old border terrier, Kiera, was hit by a vehicle last October after a delivery van sped around the corner near to the Surrey-based veterinary centre and ran over the pooch.
Keira was whisked into surgery with internal organ damage at her owner’s practice, where Noel had to make the decision to operate on his own dog’s shattered pelvis.
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Thankfully, Keira is on the mend following her ordeal, and the successful surgery on his border terrier means he feels like he could ‘save the world’ with a scalpel.
He told the podcast: “It isn't so much nerves as knowing that I could fail and accepting that that's part of the journey and as long as the family's on that journey with you, and you've discussed the ethics with them, then I don't think nerves really help.
“Once you blow the doors of the theatre, usually with your foot and you walk in somehow, any mist you may have had evaporates and somehow it's a magical thing. You pick up the scalpel blade and you become the person who's gonna save the world.”
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Sharing the news that Keira was recovering from her surgery, Noel posted a photo of the border terrier to Twitter in November and said: “ Good Morning everyone Thank you so much for all of your thoughts, prayers and kindness.
"I finally have all my tubes out and I’m getting a little stronger each day. ‘Onwards and upwards and let’s find the joy in the day’ as daddy would say. Love you. Thank you again. Keira x."