A spaniel who has donated 21 pints of blood over the years is retiring — after helping save the lives of at least 80 other dogs .English springer Arnie, nine, started donating to Pet Blood Bank in 2015 but has had to stop after reaching the age limit.
Canine lifesavers must be between one and eight, more than 25kg, fit and healthy, and not have been abroad recently.Arnie started donating when owner Rachel McFarlane, 36, read an appeal for more blood donors to help save dogs.
Each pint has the potential to save four dogs’ lives, meaning Arnie has helped some 84. He can give blood every eight weeks at a local vet’s. Dog groomer Rachel, from Falkirk, Scotland, said Arnie didn’t start donating until he was nearly three but she would have signed him up sooner if she had known about the service. Rachel said: ‘It’s amazing the number of people who have never even heard of dogs donating blood.
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‘Dogs have two blood types, positive and negative, with positive being the most common, which is what Arnie is.
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‘Each pint can go towards helping four other dogs.
‘I don’t think a lot of people know about it — until you are in the situation it’s maybe not something you think about.
‘It is very unusual for a springer spaniel to be able to donate because they are generally under 25kg.‘It is normally bigger dogs like poodles, labradors and German shepherds you see donating, but Arnie is big for his breed so has been able to do it.
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‘When he goes in they take a little sample of his blood to make sure everything is OK.
‘Then they get him up on the table to put the needle in his neck to draw the pint.
‘Some dogs are so relaxed they are almost sleeping while the blood is being taken.’
Rachel explained: ‘The nurses distract Arnie with lots of gravy bones and treats.
‘He is always fine when he is getting it done and loves having everyone fuss over him.
‘The dogs get a goodie bag after every donation which has treats and toys in it, and they get a bigger gift bag every fifth time — Arnie got a lead in his.
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‘He also got a goodie box when he retired with treats and toys.
‘Arnie isn’t the cleverest of spaniels, but he has certainly done a wonderful job over the years — he’s a good boy.’
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