LUMBERTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — When blood donors share their “gift of life” with the Red Cross, they get a glass of juice and a cookie after their pint has been drawn, but what do you give Fido after he’s donated his blood?
Yes, it turns out dogs need blood, too.
Remy, a 6-year-old Boxer from Cherry Hill, was rewarded Saturday for his blood donation with a bowl of creamy, chicken-and rice-based dog food he eagerly lapped up. He was one of a number of pooches who showed up with their owners for a K-9 blood drive here behind the Red Cross facility on Route 38.
Sponsored by the American Red Cross Pet Aid team, the blood drives have been taking place since 2002 and are held four times a year.
Red Cross volunteer Elaine Sullivan of Mount Holly helps coordinate the drives by recruiting donors and scheduling times for the donations.
“There really is a demand for canine blood,” said Sullivan.
“With the advances being made in animal medicine (veterinarians) are able to treat more illnesses and injuries. They’re now doing hip replacements, back surgeries, and many dogs need transfusions when suffering from anemia.”
Inside the Animal Blood Mobile provided by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary technician Amy Guldin checked the dog donors’ health status and took a sample of blood to test for anemia before a blood unit was drawn.
Guldin explained that when she takes blood from a canine, she goes right for the jugular.
“The veins in the legs of dogs aren’t big enough,” said Guldin. “So we clip a small patch of hair on the neck, clean it with disinfectant and draw from the jugular vein. It takes about four to five minutes. Then we give them the food, and they really love it.”
Remy’s owners, Matthew Andrews and his partner, Lori Irvin, said they were proud of their dog, who made his eighth donation Saturday.
“We bring him three times a year,” said Andrews, noting that Remy had reached the one gallon mark in donations.
The amiable pooch was wearing a Red Cross bandana around his neck, given to him to mark the gallon milestone.
Guldin said the Animal Blood Mobile will travel to dog clubs, parks and neighborhoods in around South Jersey “about once a week depending on our need. We’ll go anywhere within an hour of Penn, because we only have a certain amount of time from when we collect the blood to when we have to get back and process it.”
Sullivan said five pints were donated Saturday. The next K-9 blood drive is scheduled for May 14.
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