These dogs may look like they’re getting dramatic live-saving treatment on the vet’s table but the reality is quite the reverse as they are actually GIVING blood to help save their canine pals. Why do they do it? For a biscuit of course. Rosie, Alan and Colin, are part of a growing league of dog blood donors, who willingly go to the vets up to four times a year to give a pint of their precious blood.
In fact, Alan, a nine-year-old ex-racing Greyhound, has given ten pints of the life-saving liquid and this session will be his last as he hangs up his red “I give blood” bandana and heads for doggy-donor retirement.
Owner Anne Gee said, “He’s getting too old now to continue, but he’s definitely done his bit to help others.
“He knows what to expect and he’s always very chilled.
“He is supposed to take it easy afterwards but it doesn’t make any difference to be honest, he’s very relaxed before, during and after.
“He does enjoy the after-donation treats and toys though.”
And Colin, a six-year-old Greyhound cross collie, has given more than a paw-full of blood and is heading towards his 14th donation.
Colin is so sangfroid about the whole experience that he promptly falls asleep in the middle of his donation.
Phil Bragg, his owner, said: “He did that the very first time he donated blood too, he was so bored he just fell asleep on the table.
“He knows he gets a treat afterwards now, so the biggest problem is convincing him to wait long enough for them to collect the blood, then he just wants to dash off and get his reward.
“Seriously though, it’s so easy to do, he has no problems afterwards and if he ever needed a transfusion I know how grateful I’d be.
“It’s something I’d suggest anyone with a calm dog does.”
Three-year-old Rosie is a novice in comparison to her two dog-donor chums.
An ex-racing Greyhound, Rosie is giving her second pint of blood, and her owner Ann Fowkes said it’s a huge achievement for a dog who was originally very nervous and frightened of her own shadow.
She said, “When we got Rosie she had never even seen grass or carpet as she had lived outdoors all her life, so everything made her nervous.
“But now she is so relaxed that she doesn’t even flinch when the needle goes in, and she loves all the fuss she gets while she is donating blood.
“She’s up and racing around straight away after, so it doesn’t seem to affect her in the slightest.”
National charity Pet Blood Bank has been running a blood bank service for veterinary practices for the last ten years, organising blood donation sessions throughout the UK. And retired dairy farmer, Janet Carrington, is incredibly grateful that it does, because her much-loved family pet, seven-year-old Trixie, owes her life to the generosity of another mutt – perhaps even Colin, Alan or Rosie. Janet had taken Trixie to nearby stables, where, unbeknown to her, the inquisitive Border Terrier ate rat poison.
She said, “It was the next day when I told Trixie we were going for a walk, and she didn’t want to go, that I knew something was wrong.
“I took her to the vets, and he recognised the signs and symptoms of rat poisoning, so she ended up staying in overnight and getting a blood transfusion.
“I was so worried, she was at death’s door and if she hadn’t been given the blood then there is no doubt at all that she would have died, so I’m incredibly grateful to the donor dog.
“And now Trixie has even gone on to be a mum, she is full of life and incredibly healthy.”
It takes just five minutes to donate one pint of blood, which can be used in four life-saving transfusions.
And just like their human counterparts, dogs can donate up to four times a year.
To donate blood dogs must be:
Aged between one and eight years old
Weigh more than 25kg
Have a good temperament
Never have travelled abroad
Be up to date with all vaccinations
Not be on any medication
Be fit and healthy
Further information is available online: http://www.petbloodbankuk.org