Thursday, January 24, 2013

Holly The Donor Dog

If you're a regular reader of my blog posts, you all probably know that being a blood donor is a pretty big deal for me.  I'm hoping to get my 16 gallon pin with my upcoming donation on Valentine's Day.  Every 2 months, Mr Johnson and I have a "date nite" at Mayo Clinic's Blood Donor Center.  Their donor center is open evenings the 2nd Thursday of every month, so we plan for an evening out with a good meal at a restaurant and then go to donate a unit of blood from each of us.  Our dessert that nite is the free cookies at the donor center! 

So in keeping with the spirit of being a blood donor family, I decided (after reading some stories about blood donor dogs) to contact the local emergency vet clinic to see if they were looking for blood donor dogs and whether we could have Holly tested as a donor.

One of the articles I had read mentioned that bigger dogs, like boxers and German shepherds, were generally good candidates for being donor dogs and more likely to be positive as universal donors.  Since Holly supposedly is a boxer mix (according to the information we received from the shelter), I thought I would volunteer her services as a potential donor dog.

Several weeks after the initial phone call, one of the vets from the Affiliated Emergency Vet Clinic in Rochester called me back and asked for more information on Holly and to schedule her to come in for some blood tests to see if she would be a compatible donor. 

I wasn't able to accompany Holly back to the blood drawing area, but asked one of the technicians to take photos with my camera.  I'm always so proud of Holly and how well-behaved she is at the vet and around people she's never met before.  When the vet tech took hold of Holly's leash to go back for the blood draw, Holly just went right along with her -- without even a backwards "help, save me!" glance to me & her dad.

Holly is an exemplary patient!  No squirming or fidgeting and never any worries about having to muzzle her either.  I could hear the vet techs through the door and they were just adoring her.  I'm sure Holly just loved all the attention!

So after a couple weeks (and right before Holly's birthday celebration on January 1st), we got the report we were hoping for.  Holly's blood type was DEA1-Negative, DEA4-Positive, DEA7-Negative.  The interpretation of that is as follows: 
DEA4-Positive only (negative for all other canine RBC antigens) is IDEAL.  Universal Blood Donor (can received blood only from dogs of the same blood type)

So Holly's now at the top of the emergency vet clinic's blood donor list!  They were happy at the clinic to finally have a donor dog in the Rochester area with the ability to get the clinic within minutes should an emergency situation arise where a dog needed blood immediately.  Prior to this, one of the techs would have to make a 2-hour round trip drive to the Twin Cities when blood for a transfusion was needed.  And I was happy that Holly has the chance to be a blood donor hero and help save the life of someone else's beloved doggie.  I think we are very lucky to have adopted this sweet pitbull mix from the shelter, don't you?



Gaelyn said...

Makes me smile. Everyone came out ahead when Holly came to your home.

Mama Pea said...

Well, for heaven's sake! I was totally ignorant of the fact that doggie blood donors are needed. What a kind, caring, generous thing for you and Holly to get involved with.

You may call yourselves lucky that Holly came into your lives, but I'd say she is one very lucky dog to have the home and loving people she does, too!

troutbirder said...

Yea for Holly. And kudos for her proud owners. I'd never heard of this service before but it makes sense. Yesterday I had Baron at the local vets office for shots and a former student was bringin in her collie to be put down as it was having seizures from a car accident a few days before...

Jayne said...

That's just so neat Ruthie! I know you were proud of your girl and it's so wonderful to know she'll be able to help other dogs. :c)

KGMom said...

Hurray for Holly...
And hurray for her mom & dad, being such good donors.
For years my husband also donated (as someone with AB + blood type, he was called for special cases).
He is now off the donor list, due to a false positive on one of the screening tests.
I am permanently off the potential donor list--having had malaria as a child, and having been in Africa several of the "have you ever" questions. And now, I am on blood thinner--yikes. All around a strike out.

thecrazysheeplady said...

How neat!

Taos Sunflower said...

First, may I say that you and Mr. Johnson must be two of the nicest people on earth to be so thoughtful and donate regularly as you do.

Second...well, if I wasn't already in love with Holly, I'm completely besotted now. What a wonderful girl she is. She is blessed to have you as her parents, and you are beyond blessed to have such a dear dog in your home. Give her some kisses from me!

Tonyia said...

This is so amazingly AWESOME!

Mollie said...

Ditto Taos Sunflower: you and Mr. Johnson are two of the nicest people on earth. What a touching story. And Holly is one of the nicest dogs on earth. Could not believe how she took the blood draw in stride! Big warm hugs to you all! And I'm sure the Mayo Clinic is very, very grateful for your donations. I can't give blood anymore because of an immune issue many years ago. I miss giving. Maybe I could volunteer at the blood bank doing something else? Anyway, you three make my heart sing.

RuthieJ said...

Thanks Gaelyn. Holly's the best dog.

You know Mama Pea, most people I've talked to are unaware of dog blood donations. I wish I could remember where I first read that article. I'm just so happy that Holly's a compatible donor. I always wish I had a universal donor blood type too.

Hi Ray, I bet Baron would be a good donor candidate too if you wanted to pursue that. I'm glad Holly's healthy right now too.... losing a dog to injury or illness is the hardest thing ever. :-(

Thanks Jayne. She's a pretty neat dog.

Hi Donna,
That's why I donate as often as I can -- there are so many things that can defer a person. I actually was off the list not too long ago -- a patient who had received multiple transfusions had a reaction to one of them. The Blood Bank had to run tests on each and every unit of blood donated to determine which unit had caused the reaction. It took a year before I was cleared to donate again.

Thank you CrazySheepLady!

Thank you Martie! Rest assured that Holly gets lots of kisses and hugs each and every day!

Thank you Tonyia.

Thank you Mollie. Holly is truly an amazing dog. I also can't believe how complacent she is with all the vet techs, needles, etc.
You should check with your local blood bank -- I bet they have some need for volunteers. Maybe you could help serve cookies & beverages? Mayo Clinic has some volunteers who help with that....

Mollie said...

Just curious--when a dog gives a blood donation how much blood do they take? Not that my dog could be a donor--too old with a few mildly serious medical conditions. Enjoy your pup! Spring is almost here--really!!

acd6pack said...

Hi - just stopped over from A Home Grown Journal when I saw your post title! Only one of our pack is potentially big enough to be a blood donor at the university teaching hospital. They require the dog to be at least a year old and over 55 pounds. Our blind puppy Breeze is just over nine months old and 48 pounds. So we're going to inquire!

Anonymous said...

I never even thought about that! You've enlightened me. I'm going to ask my vet about it. Fascinating!

Miss Holly is quite a girl.