Today, 14 June, is World Blood Donor Day. Everybody able to donate blood is encouraged to do so, as it can be a matter of life or death for patients in need of a transfusion. But humans are not the only ones who can find themselves in dire need of blood: our dogs may need one it, and rely on doggie blood donors to provide it.
Romeo, a five-year-old Staffordshire Bull Terrier from Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, has been giving his blood for the past three years to help dogs dealing with life-endangering illnesses or injuries. Every three months, like any human donor, Romeo walks into the Royal Veterinary College with a wagging tale to donate a pint of blood. Over the past three years, Romeo's blood has helped save 22 dogs in dire need of a transfusion.
Romeo's name couldn't be more fitting, because he has so much love to give he's also working as a therapy dog for hospital and care home patients, gaining himself a Blue Cross Medal and becoming a sponsor for Natures Menu.
Steph Hartley, Romeo’s owner, said, “Romeo really is a super dog. He’s always been very in touch with his emotions and as part of this was a very picky eater as a puppy. However, since eating a raw diet on Natures Menu, he is always full of lots of energy, and is free of the skin allergies he kept on suffering from. He can’t get enough of the stuff! He now has a balanced and nutritional diet in order to lead a healthy lifestyle and so can help others out in the process.”
Steph had been a blood donor for years, but she was unaware pet blood donation was even a possibility until a family member's dog needed a transfusion.
“Pet blood donation is much like human donation, Romeo arrives at the Veterinary College and is given a check-up from the vet before a small bit of blood is taken from his back leg to check his iron levels. Once he’s given the go ahead, he jumps up onto the table ready to donate. Unlike most dogs, who lie down on their side, Romeo actually stays sat up whilst he donates and enjoys trying to give the vets a lick whilst he does so! Once it’s over he gets a big bowl of food and lots of attention. He loves his donations and gets more excited each time we go."
“I’d encourage anyone who is thinking about blood donation themselves this World Blood Donor Day to do the same for their dog too, it could really make such a massive difference.”
To know more about pet blood donation, and find out if your dog is fit to donate, click here.