After Remy finished donating blood, he was rewarded with a bowl of creamy, chicken-and rice-dog food that he eagerly lapped up.
Yes, that’s right, dogs need blood drives, too.
Remy, a six year old boxer from Cherry Hill, New Jersey, was one of several dogs that gave the “gift of life” at Saturday’s K9 blood drive which was sponsored by the American Red Cross Pet Aid team.
These blood drives have been taking place since 2002 and are held four times a year.
On Saturday’s blood drive, five pints of blood were donated.
Red Cross volunteer Elaine Sullivan of Mount Holly, New Jersey helps coordinate the drives by recruiting donors and scheduling times for the donations.
“There really is a demand for canine blood,” said Sullivan.
“With the advances being made in animal medicine (veterinarians) are able to treat more illnesses and injuries. They’re now doing hip replacements, back surgeries, and many dogs need transfusions when suffering from anemia.”
Inside the Animal Blood Mobile provided by the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, veterinary technician Amy Guldin checked the dog donors’ health status and took a sample of blood to test for anemia before a blood unit was drawn.
And when Guldin takes blood from a canine, she goes right for the jugular.
“The veins in the legs of dogs aren’t big enough,” said Guldin. “So we clip a small patch of hair on the neck, clean it with disinfectant and draw from the jugular vein. It takes about four to five minutes. Then we give them the food, and they really love it.”
Guldin said the Animal Blood Mobile will travel to dog clubs, parks and neighborhoods in and around South Jersey “about once a week depending on our need.”
The next K-9 blood drive is scheduled for May 14.
For more information, go to the Pet Aid website at www.burlingtoncountypetaid.org.