Rory the cat had eaten some rat poison and was clinging to life. Rory’s owner, Kim Edwards, asked her friend, Michelle Whitmore, if her black Labrador Retriever could donate blood to save Rory’s life, according to CBS News.

Blood donation from dogs is not uncommon. At the University of Florida’s small animal hospital in Gainesville, 58 dogs donate a pint of blood six times a year, according to a story in The Gainesville Sun.

Most of the dogs belong to veterinarians, staff, or students and are given the royal treatment, with plenty of belly rubs and treats, when they come in to donate so they associate giving blood as a good thing.

Not all dogs qualify to be blood donors. Each undergoes rigorous screening, and the dogs must be at least one year old and no older than eight or nine years. Each must weigh at least 50 pounds. An easy-going temperament is also important because the dogs have to be able to sit still for five minutes while a technician inserts a needle into the jugular vein of the dog’s neck.

In exchange for their donations, the dogs receive a year’s supply of heartworm and flea prevention medication, and a bag of high-quality food.

The hospital performs about 15 transfusions a month and rarely runs out of blood, according to the Sun story. Reasons for transfusions include auto accidents, surgeries, and emergencies such as poisonings.

As for Rory, Whitmore did agree to have her dog donate blood, and Rory’s life was saved. Edwards says Rory is fine — and since receiving the blood doesn’t bark or fetch the paper.

Via CBS News and The Gainesville Sun

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