The Army had initially been disappointed to learn they were all too light in weight and to old to qualify as donors. The requirements are that donors had to be over 50lbs. and between 2-6 years old in age. They were thrilled that Steve and Michael would at least be able to represent our family and were crushed when it turned out that Steve was on a medication that disqualifies him and that Michael had low blood pressure.
We got there early to set up our tents and table and prepare the site for the others as they arrived. The Vet Hospital had graciously moved us front and center of their property which gave us great presence along one of Albuquerque's busiest streets. It also made for more noise which frightened Puff and Taiko. The closeness to the busy road had me concerned should a nervous pup slip its leash (fortunately, this turned out to be overthinking on my part). Also fortunately, the clinic had cleared a special area indoors as a puppy babysitting kennel area for humans who came with their dogs so that they could BOTH give blood.
The human Bloodmobile arrived, very impressive and amazingly designed so that four humans could give blood as two others completed paperwork. BUT the vehicle also came with a generator which was loud, noisy, smelly.
White Dog ran for the car and YoYoMa stayed calm only at my touch and continued attention with this added stimulus. Steve and I discussed the situation and decided that asking the WDA to endure the stress for five hours would be unfair and unkind. Dr. Hale offered to give the WDA space in the holding run area, but since so many of the Army comes with trauma from being caged in animal control or, in Yo's case, worse, we avoid confinement at all costs. It was decided that Steve would quickly drive them home and still return before the Event began and the other volunteers and supporters arrived.
The spirit of the WDA surrounded us despite their physical absence. All told 20 dogs and 25 humans came out to donate. Not all met the qualifications but in our mind, each was a Hero for being there. Our community expressed its appreciation with special rewards including yummy treats, aromatherapy treatment, chair massages, and free samples. Each donor was entered in a special raffle to win either a doggie treat basket or a human coffee and cookies basket. A team of journalism students from UNM came by to "cover" the canine donors and raise awareness that dog blood banks DO exist and fill a great need for dogs who are injured, pups with parvo, dogs suffering anemia, and others fighting the effects of chemo and radiation.
When we got home the WDA was waiting and swarmed us wanting details and to see photos...