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2008 June | Immolation Central

Oh, Baby!

Today I met this lovely young girl (guy?) at the beach, and soon after found myself in the awkward position of having to convince her that my boots were not her family.


Donor Boy

Shiva became a blood donor last week. If you're like me, you may not have given much thought to the possibility that your companion animal might need a blood transfusion one day, let alone what the source might be for the needed blood. Today is good day to think about it. There are a number of benefits to volunteering your dog or cat to be a blood donor, and I'll talk about the perks in a minute. For now, let's look at the Best Reason, hands-down:

Most veterinary blood banks keep young, healthy dogs and cats in laboratories to serve as donors. When blood banks utilize pets from the community to serve as volunteer donors, they begin to eliminate the need to incarcerate animals for this purpose.

Okay? Okay. Now, here is what else you need to know: One in seven dogs is a "universal donor." To be a donor, dogs must be healthy, between 1 and 8 years old, and 50 pounds or more. Guidelines will vary from one blood bank to another, but they'll be in that ballpark. With cats, all blood types are acceptable, and they generally need to be 1 to 8 years old and at least 8 pounds. Again, YMMV. Generally, dogs can donate every 6-8 weeks, cats every 8 weeks.

Now, get out your google and use the search terms "dog cat blood donor volunteer" or some such plus your city, county, state, etc. If there is a good list of all the veterinary blood banks in the U.S. that uses volunteers, then I haven't found it. If you know of one, please leave me a comment with a link. There are a few linked in this article. You can also call your vet and/or other vets in your area and ask if they know of a blood bank in your area, or one that does a blood drive near you.

Again, YMMV, but here's what Shiva and I get out of the deal: he gets his nails clipped, ears cleaned and teeth cleaned each time. His red blood cell count and protein levels are checked each time, and he gets a complete blood workup at the initial donation and annually. This is invaluable if you have a vegetarian or vegan dog or cat. He gets his vaccines for free as needed, and free flea/tick treatment each time. He'd get treats/free lunch, but I brought his from home because of the veg thing.

That's it. I know it's silly, because it wasn't his idea or anything, but I felt proud of him. He was a good boy for the procedure, and kissed all the lady vet techs on the way in and out. He's a flirt, and my little hero. Here he is afterwards, still a little sleepy from the sedative, chomping on his new guy:

donor boy

The title for this entry is also the title of a really good book by Brendan Halpern. You can read it in the waiting room while your dog gives blood. But it's not about a blood donor. Or a dog. It is funny, though. And sweet.

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