Trio of Greyhound life-savers give blood for treats and toys


Colin is so relaxed while giving blood he falls asleep.

These canine patients may look as if they are receiving live-saving veterinary treatment, but quite the reverse is true, as they are actually giving blood to help save other dogs.

  And their reward is a handful of biscuits and sometimes even a cup of cool tea.

  Rosie, Alan and Colin are part of a growing league of canine blood donors who give a pint up to four times a year.
Colin, a six-year-old Greyhound cross, is heading towards his 14th donation. He is so relaxed during the session that he always falls asleep in the middle.

  Owner Phil Bragg said: “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, as he just wants to dash off and get his reward.

  “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, an ex-racing Greyhound, is more of a novice. She has just given her second pint of blood – a huge achievement for a dog who was once frightened of her own shadow, according to owner Ann Fowkes.

  “When we got Rosie she’d never even seen grass or carpet as she had lived in kennels all her life, so everything made her nervous,” she said. “But now she’s so relaxed that she doesn’t even flinch when the needle goes in, and she loves all the fuss.

  “She’s up and racing around straight away after, so it doesn’t seem to affect her in the slightest.”

  Another ex-racer, nine-year-old Alan, has given ten pints in total and has now retired, giving up his blood-doning bandana. Owner Anne Gee said: “He’s getting too old now to continue, but he’s definitely done his bit to help others. 

Greyhound blood donors Colin, Alan and Rosie.

  “He knows what to expect and he’s always very chilled and enjoys the after-donation treats and toys.”

  National charity Pet Blood Bank has been running the service for veterinary practices for the past ten years, organising donating sessions throughout the UK. One recipient was seven-year-old Border Terrier Trixie, who owes her life to the blood she received after she ate rat poison.

  “She was at death’s door and if she hadn’t been given the blood then there’s no doubt she would have died, so I’m incredibly grateful to the donor dog,” said owner Janet Carrington. “And now Trixie has even gone on to be a mum. She’s full of life and incredibly healthy.”

  It takes about five minutes to donate one pint of blood, which can be used in four life-saving transfusions. To donate, dogs must be between one and eight years old; weigh more than 25kg; have a good temperament; never have travelled abroad; be up to date with vaccinations; not be on any medication; be fit and healthy.

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