White Dog set her face to brave leadership. "OK, momma, you can count on me and the White Dog Army. It is an important cause and you know we support your work." My stoic girl was responding to my news that everything was falling into place for Paws To People to host a My Dog and Me Blood Drive in conjunction with our local Canine Blood Bank and our nonprofit human blood services organization at the end of February.
I gently kissed my girl and thanked her for her immediate compassionate response. "You and the WDA ARE heroes, Little One, BUT in this case you cannot participate." She looked a little hurt and relieved at the same time. "There are strict qualifying rules for a pup to give blood so that he or she stays healthy and is not negatively affected by the blood loss. The donors must be between 2 and 6 years of age and weigh at least 50lbs. None of the WDA meets the weight requirement and only Bella, who is way too tiny, falls in the age range." "Well, then what can we do to help," White Dog asked because she did not want to be left out behind at the Event. "Maybe the WDA can be cheerleaders, wearing your bandannas, and directing the Blood Drive Donors to the free cookies and treats. Do not worry I will make sure there is a part for you."
Blood for pups is used just like it is for human situations...trauma, anemia, chemotherapy support, autoimmune disorders, surgery, parvo treatment and more. The donor process is painless and takes about half and hour once paperwork and blood screening is complete. And just like in the human realm, there is a chronic shortage of blood and donors.
Our goal in putting together this special two- and four-legged Blood Drive is to make the community aware of the need and of their pup's blood in general. Did you know that there are 13 canine blood groups described, of which 8 major ones set the international standard? A dog with DEA1.1 positive blood (which is 33-45% of the population) is considered to have universal donating and transfusion capabilities. Because of their smaller size and less cooperative nature, cats do not usually participate in Blood Drives but have three types of blood: A, B, and AB. In the United States the most common is Type A. We have learned a lot just in thinking about hosting this event and hope to be able to provide information sheets to the public. Every human should know the blood type of their companion animals, as they should know their own.
White Dog said, "You know, momma, maybe we should plan some distractions. The idea is kind of scary and if there are things to do while waiting, it might make the day more fun for the Heroes who come." Her thought was a good one and we have asked one of our favorite soft rock group if they will come and provide entertainment. Our friend who makes the WDA's favorite Sweet Potato and Maple Bliss cookies has agreed to set up a table, distribute free cookies to the dogs who donate (or who try to but do not pass screening) and sell her wares. The Cat Rescue group will hold a human bake sale and provide free cookies to human donors. Our local pet emporium will offer information on healthy food choices, samples, and a VIP coupon for Blood Donors. The Vet Blood Bank will hand out "Thank You" bags of goodies.
The WDA is excited that they will be able to help with the planning even if they cannot be donors. We also learned that every pup who donates blood ultimately helps three dogs in need. YoYoMa said, "Who would have even thought that giving blood could help so many?" "Yep," White Dog replied, "that is why we are calling it We Could Be Heroes: My Dog and Me Blood Drive." "Oh," Puff put in, "I thought that was just because momma is a David Bowie fan."