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?


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Let's Eat

My friend Lynne gave me this little round mesh birdfeeder a few years ago.  It's designed to feed black oil sunflower seeds, but I fill it with cardinal mix (containing sunflower seeds -- shelled & whole, safflower seeds, and shelled peanuts).  All of the birdies love this feeder and to alleviate the mess of shells on the patio below, I added a tray feeder beneath to help catch the mess, plus it give the birds another place for dining.  I have this feeder hanging right outside the dining room window so I can enjoy the view of the amazing variety of birds the feeder attracts.

 Red-Bellied Woodpecker (male)

Pine Siskins really love it!

Pine Siskin & Cardinal

Black-Capped Chickadee & Downy Woodpecker

Female Cardinal & House Sparrows


More Goldfinches

Stereo Chickadees

Thanks for this feeder Lynne!  My birds and I really enjoy it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Winter Visitors

This past Tuesday was a beautiful and sunny mid-January day -- especially when you think of how awful January in Minnesota could be (and has been in the past).  While I had Holly out in the backyard for her potty break, I heard the unmistakable call of Cedar Waxwings.  Looking around I saw this small flock perched in the top of one of my crabapple trees.  I was thankful to see that they stuck around long enough for me to grab my camera and even continued posing while I walked around the yard to take advantage of the last afternoon sunshine and capture a photo of them in the best light.  I love Cedar Waxwings and what a treat to see them in the middle of winter!