'A muddy, bloody story': Airdrie cow vet gains YouTube fame with day-in-the-life dispatches
Cody Creelman takes fans through the ups and downs of being a rural cow vet
Airdrie-based cow veterinarian and YouTuber Cody Creelman has become an internet sensation with his cheerful, bovine-themed videos — everything from birthing calves to testing semen to dissecting a bull with bovine heart failure.
Creelman has more than 42,000 subscribers on YouTube, 30,000 followers on Instagram and his own swag — T-shirts, hats and hoodies.
And his fans, which he calls "Palpation Nation," can't get enough of his day-in-the-life dispatches with titles like "Baby Calf Rescue" and "Teen Mom: Heifer Edition"
"Being a cow vet is a muddy, bloody story," Creelman told The Homestretch. "It's just my life, it's my job. This is the thing that we have to deal with out in the field. This is a day in the life of a beef cattle veterinarian. I just wanted to be as transparent as I possibly could through that format, and that is just literally everything that I do all day long."
Creelman, who has been a vet for eight years, started video blogging, or vlogging, about three years ago.
"It's been kind of a slow, gradual progression just in terms of sharing my story with social media," he said. "It started on Twitter, and then Snapchat and Vine, and then it progressed to me realizing that I could communicate well in the video format. So that's where I decided to start vlogging and doing this kind of daily digital documentation of my life."
Creelman spends a lot of time wearing very long gloves, and claims there's not much that he finds off-putting.
"I grew up on a beef cattle farm. My dad was a cattle buyer and my mom was a farmer. So I grew up with those types of roots in terms of animal agriculture and always being around animals," he said. "There isn't there isn't an excretion an animal can create that throws me off."
At 16, Creelman did a volunteer work stint at a local vet clinic, and was hooked.
Today, his veterinary vlogs reach across the globe, and he says vlogging has helped him both learn and grow his own practice, but also share with other veterinarians and vet students.
"Especially throughout different world veterinary schools there are always hotspots for my video views — Budapest, Australia, Scotland, all across the U.S., so I've really connected with the student population," he said. "From there they spread the word, and I've really connected with a lot of different veterinarians from all over the place."
The internet fame has opened doors for Creelman to do speaking engagements around the world and to grow his own business.
"Initially the intent was just hyper local marketing for my veterinary services," he said. "I just wanted to people that see that I was a good guy and that I was a good cow vet, and if they were looking to seek my services it was just a digital marketing strategy. It's certainly grown far beyond anything that I could ever expect."
Creelman says he gets approached regularly by production companies but has yet to find the right fit for an ongoing vet show. Meanwhile, his cow veterinary practice keeps him on the run — there's always a calf to birth or a sick cow to nurture. And all those fans who want to watch him do it.
"I think that just goes back to our general human nature in terms of loving people's stories," he said. "My favourite example is the Alaska crab fisherman. How many crab fisherman shows have there been? There's nothing, you know. It's a pretty routine-type job in an extreme environment. But we connect with those people's stories, and people who are in agriculture or in veterinary medicine, they just connect with that story. They love connecting with the saga of this person as their day's unfolding."
Creelman, who often features his family in his vlogs, says one of the things he loves best is the idea of leaving a video documentary for his kids as they grow up.
"I always love to think about, if I found say, a set of videos from my grandpa when he was in his 30s slogging it out there in life. If something like that existed I would watch every second of it," he said. "So I love thinking there's this kind of the historical record of my career that my kids and my grandkids will be able to watch. And it makes you remember a lot more too, capturing all those little snippets."
With files from The Homestretch.