the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Dog Heroes

While my Rock flipping waits for drier weather and man-help, there's something else I've wanted to post for a long time.

We have owned and loved seven siberian huskies over the years.  Two of them had the privilege of saving lives, many times over.  They were blood donors.

Never heard of it?  Neither had I, until my vet held a testing clinic to find volunteer donors.  Not all dogs can do it - they have to have the right blood type, and they have to weigh at least 50 pounds.  That ruled out most of my dogs, but two qualified. 
Lasher was the only dog we've owned with a championship pedigree.  I mean the kind you'd brag about if it were yours.  Like, mommy was Queen I'm-So-Perfect, and daddy was King Big Shot.  But in dog terms.  Literally every last pooch on his family tree had earned a "Ch" in front of its name.  Except Lasher.  He was considered too big for the show ring.  Size discrimination!

But he made his life count for more than any fancy title.

Juneau was a rescue dog, about four or five years old when we got him.  How anyone ever lost him is a mystery to me, because he'd stick close to us, and get anxious if I left him.  A real sweetie.  The Siberian Husky Rescue League pulled him out of a pound and kept him in a foster home in hopes they would find someone who would take an adult dog.  Best move we ever made.  He had ten more years of love and devotion in him, and we got it all.

On average, Siberian huskies don't usually have the universal donor blood type, but Lasher and Juneau both did.  So we signed up, and every few months someone would call and ask if we could come in to donate blood.  I admit, the boys were reluctant heroes - Juneau lay stoically on his table while blood was siphoned from his jugular vein, with an expression that clearly said, "I'm only here because you made me do it."  Lasher resorted to pathetic whines, the big baby, but he got through it.

Lasher and Juneau donated until they were ten years old, when it was considered best that they stop.  But the program goes on - in my area it's called Buddies for Life, and is run out of Oakland Veterinary Referral Services - .  If you have a healthy dog that meets the qualifications, they would like to hear from you.  It's a small sacrifice on your part to take them in when called, but a warm feeling you will never forget when a thank you card comes in the mail from the family of the dog whose life was saved simply because your dog donated blood.  Heroes.

1 comment:

  1. I will remember than when I have my next dog. Lasher and Juneau were beautiful. Juneau reminds my of a rescue Husky I have several years ago. She wasn't as dark as Juneau, but they are the most lovable dogs.