Romeo – the Canine Blood Donor
Whilst many people can't stand the sight of the “the red stuff”, blood is a vital necessity for humans and animals.
It is commonly known that humans donate blood to save lives but what about our furry friends?
Did you know that blood donations are not just used when dogs and cats lose blood but much the same as us, they are used for operations,
transfusions, eyes and much more. There is a shortage of UK pet blood donors, which makes it even more important to get the message out about it!
When we came across our Pet Protect customer, Steph, and her blood donor dog, Romeo, we were fascinated to hear more of what Romeo does for dogs in need.
Here is their story:
“Romeo is a 5 year old Staffordshire bull terrier cross and a canine blood donor for the Royal Veterinary College.
Romeo donates blood every 3 months and has been donating for over 2 years now.
Romeo is a negative blood type, so his donating is very important!
We got into donating because of his 'big brother' Shadow.
Shadow became ill with Lymphoma and needed to go to the vet college weekly for chemo, Romeo came with us
and we saw many sick dogs with different illnesses and injuries. As we were there all the time, we got talking to the nurses
about what they do and we started talking about giving blood and how they needed more donors. I had never even thought about where the vets
get blood from and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
Donors need to be over 25kg to donate and as Shadow was finishing his treatment at the veterinary college, Romeo had just about finished growing
into a big strong boy and weighed enough to donate.
Romeo loves his donations. As soon as we make the turn to the vet college he gets so excited.
When we arrive, he drags me into reception! When called through, Romeo knows the routine and heads straight to the scales to be weighed.
After the weigh-in its then play time, to keep everything a positive experience. He has treats, does tricks and plays with toys with
normally 2 or 3 nurses! All the nurses love Romeo, just as much as he loves them.
In between all the play, there is a quick stop for a little shave of the neck and some numbing cream, then some blood from the back leg to check
his iron counts, exactly the same as us when we have our finger pricked before we donate.
The vet comes in and gives him a quick check over. Once he has the all clear its time!
Romeo jumps up on the table on his own and sits right on the edge! (Other dogs lay down on their side to donate but Romeo is so chilled he likes
to sit) The blood donor nurse sits in front of him to place the needle, one nurse just lifts his nose slightly, and the other sits next to him
stroking his back. I cuddle him and get kisses throughout the whole donation.
The machine is turned on which helps to get the blood out quickly, the whole donation takes about 3-5 mins. Once done he gets a little bandage
and more play time, followed by a bowl of chicken and sausage and a doggie isotonic drink.
It takes about an hour in all but 50 minutes of that is fun and food, and he doesn't want to leave once we are done!
Romeo has such a wonderful nature and a kind heart and after everything we had been through with Shadow we felt it was an important thing to do.
I'm so proud of everything Romeo does (he is also a therapy dog) but being a blood donor is the one I'm most proud of, he is a hero and a life saver.
I hope he can inspire more people to bring their dogs forward to donate! It's a great experience for the dogs and more importantly you're helping
save other dogs.”
If you feel that you and your dog could get involved in giving blood and help save animals lives, you can find out more information here:
Does your dog or cat go beyond just being a pet? Maybe they are a therapy animal like Romeo, or play a very special role in your life which you
could not be without? If so, we would love to hear from you! Email us your story
Story and details written by Steph.