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EXCLUSIVE: Bondi Vet Chris Brown reveals his exciting new TV venture: "It's just pure joy"

''These are dogs who haven't been dealt the best cards in life.''

By Scott Ellis
Like most of us, Dr Chris Brown has spent much the past year exploring the world closer to home.
With travel restricted, he's taken to the streets and beaches near his Sydney home for his allowed exercise, finding places he never knew existed, taking photographs to record the way things have adapted and making friends with locals he might never have met.
Like Colin, a fish.
"This year, the restrictions gave me a chance to be back in the Bondi Vet clinic, seeing patients again, which has been great, but slightly hilarious," Chris, 43, tells TV WEEK.
"These are dogs who haven't been dealt the best cards in life." (Ten)
"With no owner in the consult room it's just me saying to a cat or a dog: 'OK mate, what's wrong with you? You need to tell me!'
"But I've also been walking a lot – I know every single walking track, every single viewpoint, every little outlet within my five-kilometre area like I never knew before – and I've been snorkelling."
Which is where Colin comes in. "I hadn't snorkelled since I was a kid, but I started again and got to know all the spots within my area and everything in them.
"And in one place there is blue groper fish that I genuinely now have a relationship with! I swim down and bang rocks together – that's my signal like knocking on the door saying, 'I'm here!' and he swims over.
"I know he just uses me for the food that I stir up, he gets a meal out of the little bits of aquatic junk that are stirred up when I bang ring the rocks together, but we've become very close and I call him Colin, it just seems appropriate."
In The Dog House Australia, Dr Chris heads into Animal Welfare League's Kemps Creek shelter to meet dogs who have been abandoned, rescued or otherwise handed over. (Ten)
Even for a veterinarian who has sent his life caring for animals, and currently narrates heartwarming series The Dog House Australia, Chris laughs at the absurdity of his new bestie being a fish.
"When you're socialising with fish, I think you've got to be a little bit concerned about where you're at," he says. But it's a friendship that shows, like Chris's TV ventures, that connection is where you find it.
He found that with his I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here co-host Julia Morris – which was thankfully allowed to proceed again this year - and in The Living Room (also filmed under restrictions) where he shares a bond with co-hosts Amanda Keller, Barry Du Bois and his best mate (Colin excluded) Miguel Maestre, that has made their weekly mix of inspirational stories, household tips and laughs required viewing for many.
And connection is certainly front and centre with his latest venture, The Dog House Australia, where Dr Chris heads into Animal Welfare League's Kemps Creek shelter to meet dogs who have been abandoned, rescued or otherwise handed over.
They come in all shapes and sizes, but the one thing the dogs have in common is that they are all looking for a friend, someone to take them home and rebuild the connections they've lost.
"It's just pure joy," Chris says of The Dog House.
"These are dogs who haven't been dealt the best cards in life and like people, it'll take them a little bit of time to get to where they can carry on and love again so when they do, it's just pure joy.
"But the series also shows you have to look within yourself a bit and think, 'OK, where am I at in life? How much of a priority is taking a deep breath and just enjoying the simple joy of patting a dog or having a dog up on the couch with me watching TV?'
"I mean that is a real pleasure in life and I think for too long a lot of us had deprived ourselves of that moment of just slowing down and going: 'You know what? The way you make me feel and the joy you give, that's something special'."

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