Dogs in need of life-saving blood

Dogs in need of life-saving blood
    Dogs in need of life-saving blood

    Dogs in need of life-saving blood
    Dogs in need of life-saving blood transfusions can access what they
    need to survive, thanks to Pet Blood Bank and its canine donors,

    On a wet and windy Tuesday afternoon, a number of largish pet dogs are making their way to a vet’s surgery near Bristol city center. Oblivious of their status as heroes, those who’ve been there, done that and got the bandanna are simply looking forward to the enormous fuss and abundance of treats they know will be coming their way. The dogs are part of a growing band of canine blood donors, with over 10,000 dogs currently registered to give what is unquestionably the gift of life.
    Organized and run by the charity Pet Blood Bank, each session enables around 20 units of blood to be collected, every one of which has the potential to save up to four dogs’ lives. With four or five sessions taking place weekly up and down the country, even my rudimentary grasp of maths suggests we’re talking about a significant number of lives.
    In the waiting room, I find Heather Passmore emerging from the donation with her two Weimaraners, Boris and Purdy. She tells me, Boris, thoroughly enjoyed his session, but Purdy wasn’t keen to participate this time around.
    “She’s given blood several times and been fine,” Heather says. “But today she didn’t want to do it and that’s OK. Boris will carry on as long as he’s happy.” Like us, dogs have different blood types, being either DEA 1 positive or DEA 1 negative and Weimaraners are one of a number of breeds whose blood tends to be negative. Around 30 percent of dogs in the UK have the blood of this type and, as they can only receive the blood of the same type (unlike those with positive blood, who can receive either), donations from these breeds are crucial to keeping stocks at the necessary levels and Boris
    has boosted those precious stocks.
    Presiding over today’s session is vet Kate Dawes, who sets aside about a day each month for Pet Blood Bank, fitting the work around her job in a busy vet practice. She confirms there’s no pressure on dogs to donate and they can opt out at any stage of the process.
    “If there’s the slightest sign of stress, we call a halt immediately,” she says. “Whether it’s in the pre-donation health check or during the donation, we can stop at any time.”Party time moments after waving Boris and Purdy off, handsome Golden
    Retriever Barney bursts through the door in a flurry of wind, rain and barely contained the excitement. Owners Tracy and Tom followed in his wake, simultaneously trying to curb his enthusiasm and towel the worst of the wet off his thick coat.
    “He thinks he’s coming to a party!” Tracy laughs. “The only thing he dislikes is having to lie still and wait for the treats.”
    Barney is sporting a natty red lead featuring the Pet Blood Bank logo, which Tracy tells me was a present from the charity after his fifth donation. It’s one of a variety of gifts that dogs receive during their time as donors, to show the charity’s appreciation of their support. There’s also the Heart of Pet Blood Bank Awards, including the Bramble
    Craddock Award, which was launched in honor of one of the charity’s highest donating dogs to
    celebrate the wonderful role dogs have in our lives.
    Barney leads the way into a consulting room, eagerly greeting Kate and donor assistant Lauren.
    They spend about 15 minutes checking Barney’s overall health, testing his blood and shaving a
    small patch on his neck where anesthetic cream is applied to ensure the procedure is painless, which, as far as Barney’s concerned, means lots of yummy treats interspersed with a few boring bits!
    With all boxes ticked and Barney about as far from stressed as it’s possible to be, we troop down the corridor to another room for the main event. Lauren joins vet nurses Emma and Zoe, and Barney is soon on the table, lying comfortably on one side with Tracy and Tom at his head.
    The donation itself takes less than 10 minutes, during which a Zen-like calm descends on the room as everyone focuses on
    Barney – not so much reassuring him as keeping a lid on his excitement levels! Being the center of attention and stroked by five pairs of hands is pretty heady stuff and there’s something of the Roman emperor about Barney’s recumbent form.
    But the best is yet to come. A big bowl of food and slurp of water are the canine equivalent of a cup of tea and a biscuit and there’s a choice of toys to take home and a goody bag. And while Barney heads for the door with his tail still swishing
    cheerfully, Tracy and Tom describe their sense of pride and the satisfaction of doing their bit for the dog-loving community to which they belong.
    “If your dog needed the blood, you’d want it to be there,” Tracy says simply.
    @Posted by
    writer and blogger, founder of Our Dogs Are Loved .

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