Nat Geo Wild has casting call for mobile vet documentary

LIHUE — Dr. Bartholomew “Buckeye” Bottoms is dedicating himself to the animals of Kauai for the next 10 days, and he’s looking for subjects to be on camera.

He’s filming his series with Nat Geo. Wild: “The Adventures of Buckeye Bottoms.” The series follows the veterinarian as he provides mobile vet services across Hawaii, and the show needs patients.

“We are open to any and all kinds of animals, from pets to farm animals, and any kind of procedures, from checkups to surgery to illness,” said Lauren Levine, producer with Riot Entertainments and ITV Creative, who is working on the show.

Bottoms and the crew started filming Monday and will be continuing through Friday, June 23. After a break, they will be back in July to continue filming.

The series will be shot documentary-style, with the camera crew watching while Bottoms runs his practice.

The opportunity could be particularly great for people with large animals, said Basil Scott of the Kauai Community Cat Project.

Kauai needs more vets, he said.

Christy Wong, who owns Wong’s Traveling Petting Zoo and is founding Kauai Animal Education Center, said there’s a veterinarian void on the island, one that was created when barefoot Aloha Vet, Scott Sims, passed away in 2015.

“We were spoiled from having Scott,” Wong said. “He was the ultimate, and a lot of people are heartbroken. It was a huge loss.”

Sims had his own reality television show on Nat Geo. Wild dubbed “The Aloha Vet.” He was 59 when he died at Wilcox Memorial Hospital in July 2015, after being diagnosed with bladder cancer.

“Scott, he had the whole mobile thing in his car and he would meet you wherever. He’d jump in the mud, no slippers, pulling up horses or whatever,” Wong said. “That’s what people are looking for.”

Bottoms travels around Kauai and Maui tending to the medical issues of a cornucopia of animals — cats and dogs as well as alpacas, horses, donkeys and anything else that needs help.

Born in Santa Barbara, California, Bottoms secured his animal science degree from California Polytechnic State University in 2000 and has been a mobile vet in the Hawaiian Islands since 2007.

The first episode of “The Adventures of Buckeye Bottoms” aired on Feb. 18, and the first two episodes took place on Kauai and Maui.

Since Sims passed, other veterinarians have started filling the empty shoes, but Wong said they don’t have the equipment Sims had when he was practicing.

“They’re doing their best, but it’s really hard,” Wong said. “A lot of animals suffer because we lack the facilities and the tools we need.”

Putting together those elements is high on Wong’s priority list, and that’s why she’s spent the last two years working on the Kauai Animal Education Center. The center would provide resources for 24-hour care at a reasonable cost, as well as education and sheltering for native and large animals.

The traveling petting zoo is the first step of the center, and it’s meant to provide education and a taste of the education center’s ultimate goal. Wong and her partners are looking for land for the project.

But for now and through June 23, and then again in July, those interested in participating on camera with their animal should call or text Levine at 240-449-6122, or email her at Lauren.Levine@itv-creative.com.

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