Dogs need donated blood, too.

There are only a few things on this good Earth that can provide sustained joy – animals are at the top of the list, especially our family pets, whose instinctive sense of abundance is limitless, unconditional, and immediate. Whether our furry beasts of burden are giving or being loved up, or just checking the traps for anything interesting (by traps I mean the treats cupboard, under the couch surprises, or assessing the odds of getting a goodie by sheer pesky perseverance), the joy is pure, and often contagious. Honestly, I cannot think of a time when I sought affection or distraction, that my poochies and I didn't slobber all over each other unimpeded by cares of the day.

So I'm betting many of you can imagine my stunned “Ah-ha!” moment when I learned dogs, cats, and critters in general need life-saving blood transfusions, too! And yes, there are also doggy blood banks for just such a need, But sadly, there aren't very many. Most people are unaware of this critical need, leaving the few animal blood banks and providers, who do offer this miraculous service, in desperate need of doggy blood donors! Especially because when donated doggy blood is needed, things are absolutely dire, therefore the transfusions almost always saves the lives of the dogs who receive them. Put another way, without donated blood on hand for transfusions, beloved pets would not survive, making doggy donations the most valuable, viable solution for preventing such terrible loss.

Here in the Quad Cities, there is a Doggy Blood Bank at the Animal Emergency Center located at 2810 State Street in Bettendorf, Iowa (563-344-9599). They are always seeking doggy donors, as blood transfusions are essential in the critical care of animals depending on their health issues. The need for more donors is greater than ever now, but not every dog can donate.

The Doggie Blood Bank Managing Director, Maddy Thompson, explains the criteria for donating is fairly simple and sensible, but there are parameters that narrow the field, so to speak. “The donating dog must be between the ages of two (2) and seven (7) years old, weigh 55 pounds or more, have Type-0 Negative Blood (the universal blood type for all canine transfusions), be healthy with no systemic ailments, use year-round Heart-worm and Tick & Flea prevention, and be up to date with their Rabies, Distemper, and Parvo vaccinations (they recommend Lyme vaccine but its not required). It is also much less stressful for these donors if they are well-demeanored, composed, and generally friendly.” This is equally true for people.

Maddy further emphasized, “The Center will screen and type your dog for donation eligibility, then schedule the donation at your convenience. It takes approximately one to one-and-a-half hours because the staff is compelled to leave wiggle room in case an emergency occurs, and an animal needing critical care does come in, as it will take precedence over donating. Your pupper will be partially mildly sedated, but awake, for safety and comfort during the extraction because the calmer and quieter he/she remains, the faster, safer, and more successful the procedure.”

Maddy went on to explain that you can stay through the procedure, or you are welcome to leave your beloved pup in the capable hands of the most compassionate, professional providers you will ever have the good fortune to encounter. They will call you when the procedure is complete (and after they are finished loving up your wonderful donor). It means everything when an emergency strikes and our furry companions need immediate stabilizing with blood transfusions in order to come home. I can't imagine the agony of mine needing a blood transfusion and not having a supply on hand to save them.

Most of the current doggy donors belong to staff members at AEC and surrounding veterinarian clinics. These owners, as animal caregivers themselves, uniquely understand this critical need and step up with their own pets in perhaps one of the most charitable, generous, beautiful gifts one human being can give to another, the means to save the life of a cherished pet. But these special dogs are aging out, making the need for donors increasingly urgent, especially considering the frequency for each doggy's donation is every six weeks.

Please call or e-mail Maddy Thompson, Manager of Doggy Blood Bank, or Kathie Oberman, Director of AEC, at (563)344-9599 or, if you and your dog(s) are inclined to join this exemplary community of friendship and life-saving support with your doggy-blood donation(s). They can answer all your questions and help you sort any concerns. Their devotion to animals, including yours, is evident the minute you encounter them, and even better, your dog will sense it, too. Together you are all doing a herculean thing for animals.

Not to mention the relief and gratitude from staff for increasing the Clinic's ability to save more dogs. You and your doggy donations give other animals a fighting chance. And with God's grace, the incomparable joy owners receive taking their beloved furry family members home rebounds straight back to you in deep satisfaction knowing you contributed to something so profoundly positive that few things can match.

Thank you for your consideration to donate to the Doggy Blood Bank. And please pass along this extremely urgent call for donations to all the animal lovers you know. AEC is the only doggy blood bank serving all the animal caregivers in the Quad Cities, Scott County and parts of Eastern Iowa, as well as Rock Island County and parts of Western Illinois, so they clearly need our community's participation.

In addition, charitable organizations such as K9 Kindness provide funding for animal surgeries, whose owners can't afford the cost of their pet's care. These blessed opportunities often require blood transfusions for things as grave as restoring large blood loss or as simple as increasing low platelet levels to improve outcomes. There is no end to the extraordinary good that comes from these selfless acts on behalf of animals.

Again, from the bottom of all our paws, thank you!

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