New Animal Planet show follows Black veterinary practice

r. Diarra Blue jokes that when he makes his national television debut on Animal Planet this month, he’s going to keep it all the way Detroit with a pair of Carties on.

OK, yeah-that’d definitely be a bit much for Animal Planet, the network whose staple programming includes the Puppy Bowl. But its slate expands with The Vet Life, which follows the day-to-day office and home lives of three Texas veterinarians and their four- and two-legged friends alike.

One third of the show is Blue and his wife, Jessica, both Detroit natives. He’s the vet, originally from the east side and trained at Tuskegee University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he met his two future partners, Dr. Aubrey Ross and Dr. Michael Lavigne, along the way. The three own and operate a burgeoning practice in the Houston area.

“I was born with the gift of being a vet. That was God-given,” Blue says. As a kid, he spent plenty of time on his uncle’s farm, looked after all the pets in the neighborhood and kept pets of his own. “We had a Staffordshire bull terrier before everybody else in Detroit had one,” he laughs.

Life treads some new ground for Animal Planet, arriving in an increasingly diverse TV landscape. In the first episode, Ross says point blank that few people have met a Black veterinarian.


“To see a Black veterinarian on TV, it can inspire anybody,” Blue says. But the couple also wants to portray a happy, healthy family life, which is why cameras also follow Jessica, a physical therapist, and their two young sons, ages 3 and 6 months.

“Diarra and I prayed on this experience,” she says, pointing out that they first refused the idea of a reality show before warming up to it. “We just wanted to make sure we’re shedding the right light on ourselves. We’re not selling ourselves to be ignorant.”

That means she’s not a housewife spending money in Louboutins and he’s not the player with multiple side chicks. “We definitely want to make Detroit proud,” Diarra says.

Catch The Vet Life at 9 p.m. Saturdays on Animal Planet.

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